Sula Vineyards Location and Setting
Sula Vineyards winery is located on the outskirts of Nasik, around four hours northeast of Mumbai, in the state of Maharastra. For wine lovers, Sula Vineyards makes an enjoyable side trip from Mumbai. It's easily reached by frequent Indian Railways train services, buses, or even by taxi.
The winery is set on a 35 acre vineyard. For the amount of wine that Sula produces, the property wasn't as large as I expected it to be. However, that's because Sula has an additional few hundred acres of vineyards spread elsewhere in the region.
Sula Vineyards Attractions and Facilities
Sula Vineyards has much to offer visitors. Its very ambient tasting room has been architecturally designed, with a balcony affording expansive views over the vineyard. The wine bottle lights suspended from the ceiling are a unique touch and emit a warm glow.
The tasting room is open from 11.00 a.m to 10.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11.00 a.m to 11.00 p.m Friday and Saturday. This makes it a wonderful place to watch the sunset and spend the evening. For added entertainment, there's a pool table and lounge bar as well.
150 rupees ($3) will entitle you to a 30 minute escorted tour of the winery, including the processing rooms, and tasting of six wines. The tours take place hourly between 11.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m., and provide a good insight into the wine making process.
For more serious wine connoisseurs, Sula offers a one day wine appreciation course every Thursday for 1,600 rupees ($35). The cost includes a one hour food and wine matching session. The matching session can be undertaken separately for 600 rupees ($12).
Sula also has an enticing range of wine related merchandise available for sale. I couldn't resist Sula's uplifting sun symbol (complete with Indian mustache!) and went a bit overboard, buying a t-shirt for 250 rupees ($5), silver wine cooler bucket for 350 rupees ($7), and wooden wine rack for 450 rupees ($9).
The harvesting months of January to March are the best times to visit Sula Vineyards. You'll be able to participate in wine stomping. The Sula Fest music concert is held during February/March as well, in the outdoor amphitheater.
Sula Vineyards Accommodations
Sula Vineyards has a luxury three bedroom bungalow called Beyond, which visitors can rent. It's located a short distance from the winery. Beyond comes with private balconies, large living area, swimming pool, and in-house chef who'll prepare delicious meals made out of organic vegetables. It isn't cheap though. The rate is 20,000 rupees ($400) plus tax per night on weekends, so it's a good idea to bring some friends along to share it! All meals are included.
Alternatively, staying in Nasik is a convenient option for visiting Sula.
Decent Nasik hotels that won't break the bank are Ginger and the Hotel Sai Palace. For those who aren't concerned about budget, the The Gateway Hotel at Ambad (formerly the Taj Residency) is highly recommended. There's also the Tiger Hill Resort, owned by Chateau Indage Vineyards, for those who want to continue enjoying Indian wines. You can read my review of Tiger Hill Resort here.
Sula Vineyards Food and Wine
After my tour of the Sula winery, it was time for me to settle in and enjoy the views, one of Sula's premium wines, and some light snacks.
I was looking forward to relaxing with a chardonnay. However I was disappointed to discover that Sula Vineyards is yet to grow chardonnay grapes. The knowledgeable staff assured me that there are plans afoot for it to start happening in the next three years though.
Never mind, there were plenty of other tempting wine varieties to choose from. These included chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and zinfandel. For those in the mood to celebrate, Sula produces sparkling wine as well. The average price of the wines is around 400 rupees ($12).
Most of the Sula wines are young wines. However, Sula does make a Dindori Reserve Shiraz, which is aged for a year in oak. I quite enjoyed it during the tasting, but since it was a hot day I selected the Sauvignon Blanc.
To accompany the wine, I ordered a 250 rupees ($5) platter of assorted cheeses, crackers, olives, nuts and dried fruit.
Gazing out across the horizon, feelings of contentment came easily.
For those with an appetite, who are in the mood for something a bit more substantial to eat, there's a Little Italy restaurant on the Sula property. The Little Italy chain is well regarded across India for its fine Italian cuisine. It's open for lunch and dinner, with a meal for two costing 500-1000 rupees ($10-20).