Although wine grapes have been grown in India for millennia, the local wine industry took a few major hits at the beginning of the 20th century. First, an epidemic of phylloxera decimated huge numbers of grape plants, but it was government agents actively disapproving of alcohol that hurt wineries even more. The wine industry lay dormant for 80 years, until a small number of producers began to revive historical vineyards —and plant new ones. Now, you’d be surprised how much incredible wine you can find in India.
If you’re curious about how grapes are grown on the dry and hot subcontinent, visit an Indian vineyard for yourself. Many of the country’s producers offer tours and tastings, where you can savor some of their outstanding vintages. Here are three of our favorites-
Sula Vineyards is in Nashik, Maharashtra, which is often called the Napa Valley of India. Sula has been producing wine since 1998, and has over 3,000 acres of grapes. Its wines range from sweet Riesling and sparkling brut tropicale to rich satori merlot. If you can, go in February for Sulafest, a huge “Gourmet World Music Festival” that includes tours and tastings. Regardless of when you go, you’ll have the option of staying a few days at Beyond, Sula’s luxury resort and spa nearby
FOUR SEASONS VINEYARD
The scenic headquarters of Four Seasons Vineyards is in Baramati, in the Western Ghats of India and close to Pune. Its gorgeous vineyards are surrounded by even more natural beauty, including a forest where deer roam. The property has a small number of guest rooms, and the entire facility is open to tours, so that you can see the wine-making process. The food in the restaurant here is perfectly paired to its wines, which include dry viogniers, fruity merlots, and robust cabernet sauvignons.
CHATEAU INDAGE WINERY
Established in 1982, Chateau Indage Winery produces more than 30 varieties of wine—all available for tasting. You can book a tour on any weekend, then enjoy a full meal paired with the wines that you just saw being bottled. After dinner, take a walk around the vineyards and through the sugarcane fields. Several of the wines produced here have been internationally recognized, and they also have a range of respectable red and white table wines. We’ll drink to that.