>  Explore   >  NASHIK – INDIA’S “NAPA VALLEY” 

To quote Nigella Lawson, Food & TV personality – “I never taste wine first in restaurants. I just ask the waiter to pour”

I began to enjoy wine a little over two decade ago on a bike trip in the South of France and was first moved by tasting wine in the numerous wineries prevalent in the region. One’s attention is captured in the wine and it could be the aromas, the texture on one’s palate and the experience which gets frozen in time while a wine lover craves from wanting more of that experience. My initial curiosity was to know more about the wine and the interest builds up with wine regions being included in one’s travel itinerary which has taken my wife & I to wondrous vineyards such as the Hunter valley near Sydney, Australia, Central Otago and Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, Tuscany in Italy, Douro valley in Portugal and Napa Valley near San Francisco among others. As one’s interest continues to grow in wine the horizons widen and to satiate one’s curiosity I began trying wines from myriad regions until it became a passion.

Located 4 hours and 200 kms/120 miles from Mumbai is India’s Napa valley with similar rolling hills , pleasant days, cool nights and landscape as in the Napa valley which has helped it emerge as a perfect wine region. Due credit must be given to Rajeev Samant the Founder of Sula wines who pioneered and revolutionised the wine industry in India and placed the Nashik valley on the global wine map and crafted a tourist hot spot for aspiring wine lovers and for those that visit to enjoy apart from wine the refreshing air, lakes and vistas. Sula produces 70% of India’s wine and it has built excellent infrastructure to attract tourists to this exotic locale.

For travellers traversing the highway from Mumbai to Nashik you must time your departure from Mumbai to enjoy lunch at the Vallonne vineyard located off the highway 35 kms/21 miles  from Nashik via a narrow road of about 10 kms/6 miles. The views of the Mukhna lake are stunning, the food is delectable and Vallonne is also known for its fine wine. There are 4 rooms to stay and it maybe a good idea to spend a night or two here prior to heading to Nashik.

At the Sula vineyard we were first time visitors hence keen to be part of the action- there are opportunities for wine tasting, stores that sell wine and accessories, a wine bar, Italian and Indian restaurants. The walking and cycling trails in the idyllic vineyards are lovely and for city dwellers like us a refreshing change from the polluted city we live in.

My wife & I chose to stay at The Source at Sula and the architecture brought back nostalgic memories of our trip to Tuscany 3 years ago. The Sancerre suite was our home for 3 nights and it is well worth the extra dimes one pays to stay here. The accommodation is in a quiet annex of the resort, is on the first floor, spacious and offers 180 degree views of the vineyard. The deck of our suite was so inviting that we decided to enjoy our dinner here and washed it down with Rasa, the finest wine produced by Sula while overlooking the subtly lit gardens and enhancing our dining experience which was surreal.

Sula also owns BEYOND a resort with sweeping views of the Gangapur lake and a 10 minute drive from The Source. I would recommend it to guests who prefer peace, tranquility and privacy.  The menu at both resorts is almost similar and I was told the guests from The Source are not so welcome to dine at Beyond to enable it to remain an oasis of exclusivity.

The thought of returning home to Delhi from Nashik on a direct flight is a plus and the brand new terminal makes checking in a very easy process. At this time SpiceJet operates direct flights to Delhi and to other cities and I have no doubt if and when other airlines begin operating to this airport it will boost the tourism potential and attract many more wine enthusiasts from across the country to enjoy the region’s pretty landscape and taste her fine wine.

As our plane took off for Delhi I listened to Country music singer Deana Carter’s “Strawberry wine” and it was a grand finale to the loads of wine we had downed to further satiate our passion for the life’s finer moments.

To quote celebrated author Ernest Hemingway “Wine is one of the most civilised and natural things in the world that has brought the greatest perfection and it offers a range of enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing”


By road from Mumbai- 200 kms/120 miles and about 4 hours

By Air- Spicejet operates direct flights 4 days a week -Delhi/Nashik/Delhi

A MUST- Having your own transport is useful as it helps you to explore and discover the other highlights



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