Wine is classy. There are no two thoughts about it. Picture wine and perhaps you’ll imagine two beautiful glasses of the heavenly syrup on the French country side with rich expensive cheese and French lovers doing what they do best. Or perhaps what comes to mind are the high society wine and cheese events where the who’s who meet and greet with panache and élan.
So yes, definitely wine is classy and wine making is an age old art whose mastery has been in the confines of European lords and artisans. But some 15 years ago a new name emerged from the dirt and revolutionized how wine would be known to more than a sixth of the world’s population. And it would even be exported to the master nations and beyond. The name that brought about the wine revolution is ‘Sula’.
I had the pleasure of visiting their impressive facility and their picturesque resort Beyond by Sula in Nashik, Maharashtra. Read along as I share my experience with you.
The moment you lay your eyes on the winery, you can sense the passion the owner has invested in it. The building is colourful and decorative. Large wine bottles will flirt with your imagination and beautiful seating arrangements will welcome you with happiness abound. The amphitheater and the structure surrounding it will force you to think beyond the obvious – such is the architecture of the winery. [This impressive space becomes the centre stage for the much talked about Sula Fest in February every year.] And I haven’t even mentioned the magnificent vineyard that completes this joyous picture.
It is a great place to come with your loved ones and simply lose track of time. There is a sense of freedom in the fresh Nashik air, with beautiful tracks playing aloud on speakers and the clinking of the wine glasses that seem to provide the background score for the sound of people laughing, enjoying their favourite varietal.
The wine tour is an interesting option for those who wish to understand the intricacies of wine making. I would suggest this to anyone even remotely interested in the art of wine making. Not only does it open up a lot of closed doors, but even helps you appreciate the amount of effort it takes for the one glass of wine sitting on your table. The tour lasts for about 45 minutes and even includes a tasting session in which you get to taste a range of varietals. The guides will help you develop skills for understanding your wine. Our guide, Yogesh, taught us to 4S’s of wine tasting. First, see the colour of the wine. This was followed by swirling, in order to prepare the wine for the next stage which is to smell the wine. The swirling helps to bring out the inherent flavours of the wine. This of course is followed by sipping the wine. Allowing the wine to spread on your flavour palette and allowing further air into the mouth will open up the characteristic flavours of that wine.
There is a final step which is spit, but somehow I felt it was too cruel to dislodge the beautiful liquid in such a vulgar fashion from my mouth. All this education comes at a mere Rs. 250 on a weekday and Rs. 350 on a weekend. Of course you are not obligated to take the tour. Sula is more than happy to just welcome you to its tasting area where you may purchase a bottle of wine and enjoy it with your family and friends.
Our tasting consisted of five wines which ranged between the Reisling to the premium Rasa Shiraz. Named after the initials of the brand’s owner Rajeev Samant, (RaSa) this belongs to Sula’s elite lineage. But don’t be overwhelmed by this ocean of knowledge. Sula is not about wanting to become a sommelier. In fact, a good number of people seemed to enjoy a day of nothingness, simply hanging around the majestic place click photographs and simply having a lovely sunny afternoon. Lunch or dinner can be enjoy and the very romantic and very rustic Soleil by La Plage of Goa fame. The French cuisine does justice to the experience offered by Sula.
Beyond by Sula: The Resort
Just 3.5 kilometers from the vineyard is the Beyond Resort by Sula. At first the property looks functional but it seems to slowly grow on you. The rooms are bright, big and comfortable. You can get a lake view or a hill view rooms. Everything else is the same. Just that the lake view rooms come with a balcony. But considering that the resort is barely one storey high, it really doesn’t make much of a difference. All your basic resort facilities such as an infinity swimming pool, a recreation room aka the red room, a spa and a restaurant by the name of Café Rose are available and will definitely make your stay a memorable one. The rooms start at Rs. 5500/- and prices do go up on weekends and long holidays. Another interesting accommodation facility available at the Beyond is the villas. Each villa has 3 rooms with a kitchen, lobby area and a private pool. The villa is a better option for a group of 6 individuals. The villas start at Rs. 20,000/- and prices rise steeply during high traffic season.
What I enjoyed best about the Beyond was the simplicity it had on offer. A quiet walk in the driveway or a chat by the pool – the Beyond will help you come closer as a couple. However, it is more of an ideal retreat for a fun getaway with friends. We loved the concept of the villa for a group of 6-7 people travelling together.
Other activities: Cycling, Table Tennis, Carrom etc
Location: Survey No. 1, Gangapur-Ganghavare Road, Ganghavare Village, Nashik, Maharashtra 422222
We took a flight from Delhi to Mumbai. We had looked up for local cab and booked in advance for travelling from the airport to Sula Vineyards. It took us about 3.5 hrs to cover the distance between Mumbai and Nashik. The roads are smooth except between the vineyards and Beyond (the resort) as there was some construction work in progress. You need your own conveyance since the resort does not have a shuttle system.
The article was first published in Wedding Vows Magazine.