Life would be almost perfect if I’d be sipping some fine wine in a chateau somewhere in a lush vineyard in France. I mean what’s not to like about treating yourself to some good old grape juice while you laze your weekend away. But ofcourse being able to regularly visit a vineyard in France is not something many of us can afford, but what if we had the next best thing right here in India! Nashik is to India what Napa is to Italy and what Bordeaux is to France. A pleasant 3 hour drive from Bombay and voila you are in India’s famous wine valley!
For those of us living in Bombay and Pune, this is great for a weekend escape. A perfect place to treat yourself to a relaxed weekend, Nashik has a few vineyard resorts and one of the finest ones is Soma Vine Village. A few weeks back I had decided to enjoy a quiet weekend and this place had been my pick.
A 3 hour drive later (with a quick stop at McDonald’s for a McCafe breakfast) we reached the gorgeous little estate that Soma Vine Village is. A boutique resort set amidst lush vineyards and an infinity pool overlooking the lake, this is a perfect stress-free environment. For those looking for an even more private affair the resort boasts of 7 individual villas with their own plunge pools overlooking the vineyards.
We had taken a Deluxe Lake View Room that had a great sit out area where we enjoyed some room service and wine later on. I highly recommend spending that extra buck to treat yourself to one of these rooms, only for the great sit-out balcony.
The pool was gorgeous and I easily spent most of my break in the pool with a glass of bubbly in my hand. Being a long weekend the resort was packed and people kept pouring in. The reception did have a hard time getting everybody checked in. While the service is good and the staff are friendly and genuine, it seemed as if they were not equipped to handle a full house, which I think can be excused. You are welcomed with a glass of complimentary wine while you wait to check into your room. Very aesthetically designed, you cant help but get lost in a walk around the resort.
On checking in, you also get a voucher to a complimentary wine tasting which you can use during your stay. We checked in an d decided to grab some lunch at their Indian restaurant that served a limited but great selection of North Indian food. Some delicious tawa chicken, kesari pulav and dal later we found ourselves sipping on their Chenin Blanc Dessert wine which quite frankly is one of the yummiest wines I have had, and surely is at par with some French wines I have had, Now I am not a wine snob, but I can definitely tell taste!
I decided to indulge in some post lunch lazing in the pool and get lost in the beautiful view. It was one of those getaways where you did nothing but relax. The rest of the day was spent walking around the estate and short cycle rides around where we were exposed to gorgeous monsoon views like this..
The cycles could have been better maintained, and I made it a point to inform the staff about the same. For those looking for a slightly more adventurous evening, there is a adventure (very mild adventure if I may) sports centre called Zonkers where you can try out zip-lining, rock climbing, go karting etc. I decided to skip simply because that didn’t fit into my idea of a relaxed weekend. After a blissful day of absolutely nothing, we decided to call it a night after some room service.
The next morning we had breakfast at the multi-cuisine restaurant; Suffiana. It was the bigger of the two restaurants on the property and had a spectacular view of the vineyards. The breakfast was not the best in terms of variety but it was good, primarily Indian.
After breakfast I took tot he pool for another lazy dip that lasted exactly 2 bottles of Brut, post which I went for a massage at the in-house spa. This was probably the most underwhelming part about the trip. The massage was okay, not too great, but definitely not worth the money. This is the one thing you can skip at the resort.
We then decided to drive down a short 20 minutes to Pai Cheese Farm, which is not so much a farm but a 3 bedroom villa that you can rent out for a stay. The cheese is probably is manufactured elsewhere but you can make a purchase at the farm villa. After tasting some ricotta, cheddar and Mozzarella we settled in on a packet of the latter to take back home.
For lunch we drove a little further to another winery called York, which houses a very highly reviewed restaurant. We ordered a bottle of Shiraz and some lip-smacking kebabs and followed it up with some Maharashtrian style chicken curry and rotis. This restaurant is definitely a must visit when in Nashik.
My weekend getaway was almost coming to an end but I had to still redeem my wine tasting voucher. Held at every other hour starting from 9 am to ending at 6 pm, I decided to pick the last lot so that I could avoid some hard sun.
The session was quite informative and we went through the process of wine making in detail. Then came the tasting and that was an absolutely exciting session, I learnt to identify the difference in various flavours. We tasted 5 different types of wine – Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Rose and Chenin Blanc Dessert, my favourite was the Chenin Blanc Dessert and I actually picked up some 6 bottles of it to take back home.
The rest of the evening was spent under the night sky sipping on some fine wine and wishing for another break like this to soon come my way. I would definitely recommend a vineyard getaway for all those who are looking to unwind in the most intoxicating way. A two night stay at this beautiful property should do the trick.
- Nearest Airport: Bombay (174 Kms) & Pune (233 Kms)
- Distance by Car: 3.5 hrs from Bombay and 4.5 hrs from Pune
- Accommodation cost for a weekend (2 nights) – Rs. 20,000 approx. including breakfast and complimentary Wine Tasting.