Vineyard tourism thrives in India as domestic tourists enjoy memorable experiences like picnics and movie nights in wineries

A dhaba in the vineyard. Did we hear right?!

“It’s a wine dhaba,” laughs Gregoire Verdin, global brand ambassador/AVP tastings and marketing at Sula Vineyards. It – The Starlight Terrace – is the latest addition to their 30-acre property in Nashik where customers can dine under a star-spangled sky. CotA place to sit, as they drank a variety of liquors with food which is usually found in a dhaba. As it turns out, the traditional Maharashtrian save Bhaji pairs beautifully with a cool, silky Chardonnay.

Wine Dhaba at The Starlight Terrace, Sula | photo credit: special arrangement

After two years of lockdown, restless Indian tourists are now looking for memorable domestic destinations, as the pandemic and its fallout have made international travel challenging and costly. In response, the country’s vineyards are pulling out all stops to offer new experiences.

There are individual movie nights, customized picnics, and wine tasting sessions, all of which you can participate in by staying in the thoughtfully curated boutique room and treehouse. Of course, in keeping with the dominant theme, offerings include a spa with wine bath, cycling through vineyards, and introductory classes on understanding wine.

a lazy day in sula

A lazy day in Sula | photo credit: special arrangement

soak in merlot

“During the lockdown, people discovered Indian wines. For a lot of them it was out of their mind,” says Gregoire, adding that people began to appreciate Indian wines even as producers began to gain international recognition. “They want to experience the life of the vineyard and learn more about wine,” he says.

Over the years, The Source et Sula (their Tuscan-style resort) has gone from 28 to 57 rooms to meet growing demand. The occupancy rate is 90% and on weekends it’s fully booked, says Gregoire.

A view from one of the rooms at Sula's Tuscan-style resort

A view from a room at Sula’s Tuscan-style resort | photo credit: special arrangement

At one point the criterion for many may be: Forget the terroir; Is that place Instagrammable? Not so now, he says with a laugh, “Earlier they used to come to take pictures. Now they are more serious about alcohol,” he added.

Jayant Bharti, Deputy General Manager, Marketing, Fratelli Wines believes that vineyard tours are a great way to experience the slow journey. “People connect with the local people, the culture, the produce, the food. They soak in the wine culture for a day or two before being freshened up,” he says.

Cycling around the lush setting at Fratelli

Cycling in the lush green environment in Fratelli | photo credit: special arrangement

Fratelli Vineyards came up in 2007 in Akluj (about three hours from Pune). Four years later, four luxury rooms were added. “Initially, the rooms were meant to house our teams, directors and colleagues from Italy. Eventually, with more people to stay and stay the night, we converted it into a boutique property Fratelli Estate,” says Jayant.

As Indians focus on exploring domestic destinations this year, Jayant says there is a growing demand for places that are not too crowded. “Due to these specifications, our demand has increased by 30%, especially since November 2020, when people were tired of staying indoors,” he says, adding that occupancy rates range from 70% to 90%. has increased.

While customers have opted to stay for anywhere from a night to about 10 days, even some working out of the vineyards (perhaps their productivity is better than a glass or two of wine), day trippers in There has also been a significant increase.

Fratelli has seen a 15% increase, while in Sula, some 3,000 people walk in and out of the gate on some days. Grover Zampa’s 34-year-old vineyard in Doddaballapura (Karnataka) has increased his number of day trips from two to three per day, with batches of 25-30 people taking morning, afternoon and late afternoon visits to an area of ​​410 acres. Shown around. This number increases to 50 in each batch during the weekend. And people in groups of 10 can make a party out of it with grapefruit petting sessions upon request for an additional fee.

much more to see

Sumit Jaiswal, Vice President Marketing and Exim, Grover Zampa Vineyards says that the vineyard has now become a venue not only for a stay, or a day out but also for shooting, luxury car showcasing events and expat club activities. “Whether it is a day out or a wedding shoot, people are finding unique ways to differentiate their experiences,” he adds.

Grover Zampa recently completed a state-of-the-art wine cellar that will soon open to the public. There are plans to add rooms to this facility. Meanwhile his Four Seasons Vineyard in Pune, a chateau-style resort, is doing brisk business.

Maharashtra has more options for wine tourism: for example, Soma Wine Village has converted wine barrels into comfortable rooms; Hill Zil Winery & Resort offers sparkling alcoholic beverages made from fruits at its resort nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range.

A Busy Day at Fratelli Vineyards

A busy day at Fratelli Vineyards | photo credit: special arrangement

An hour’s drive from Hampi (Karnataka), Krisma Estate, which has been included in the list of Best Vineyards in the World 2021, receives batches of day trippers. Now, its founders Krishna Prasad and Uma Chigurupati, who devote all their time to viticulture, are building about three rooms to live on popular demand.

The harvest season in India is from the last week of December to the middle of March. However, tourists come here throughout the year. Even the brutal summer months, where the temperature can cross 40 degree Celsius, are no hindrance for the experience seeker. In winter, the rolling vineyards are covered in early morning mist. Monsoon also has its own appeal. “It’s spectacular. The vineyard’s climate changes seasonally,” says Gregoire, who mainly sees couples and a few families frequent the property. He observed that the age group was predominantly 30-45 years old of age group.

Scandinavian-style Eskape.Club Cottage

Scandinavian-style Eskape.Club cottage | photo credit: special arrangement

If vineyards, quiet spaces and cozy cottages are all you care about and don’t really mind the absence of wine, you can experience a different kind of vineyard life. Stay in Scandinavian-style accommodation at Eskape.Club, started by Nikhil Deshpande in 2018, surrounded by 15 acres of vineyards.

Property search on Eskape.Club

Search property in Eskape.Club | photo credit: special arrangement

“We call ourselves Vineyard Getaway Properties,” says Nikhil. The facility, a short drive from Bengaluru, features an outdoor cafe, bonfires, activities such as cycling, orchard tours, and vineyard tours led by vineyard caretaker Mohan Gowda. The guests usually leave with 10-20 kilograms of grapes. Mesmerized by the stay, at least three of his clients have gone a step further and purchased properties from nearby vineyards. A guest also launched his homestay.

environmental quotient

Avoiding plastic, Nikhil says that everything is made of metal and hardwood. It has a rustic feel. “We work with local people to provide services,” he says.

Big on sustainability, Eskape.Club uses solar energy, and recycles and reuses resources. In Sula also 70% of hospitality operations are powered by solar power. There are solar panels, e-vehicles and practices like composting and reusing water… “These are the things we are really focused on taking action against climate change. When it comes to climate change So our CEO is an activist,” says Gregoire, “Sustainability is a way of life here. It’s something we’re as proud of as our wine.”


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