There is something magical about staying at a vineyard. Spectacular mountain views, glorious sunsets,vast green meadows and countless glasses of fine wine. Many vineyards are located on the outskirts of the city and require some hours of road travel. A wine-themed holiday is the perfect quick getaway with guided walks, and of course, copious tasting opportunities.
Four Seasons, Baramati
Even to a veteran having done rounds of wineries, Four Seasons is jaw-dropping. The imposing chateau-style architecture with a winding old world staircase, black and white framed photographs and antique furniture, this one is as grand as a wine experience gets.
Accommodation is in stylishly done rooms with lovely views of the valley of vines below. Wine breaks include a wine tour and tastings of the highly rated sparkling, red and white wines. There is a vineyard tour and various nature trails. The chateau has a spa and a picturesque party deck.You can bathe in a rectangular pool or take off on a bicycle tour.
Meals could be had at the picturesque poolside with a bottle of the beautifully layered Vintners Reserve red wine. This outstanding wine will impress you with its rich colour and deep aromas. If you are an early riser don’t decline the trek invitation. Apart from the scenic trail, you might spot a hyena or deer. Look out for the wild berries along the way for a quick juicy snack.
Where: Gate No. 263, Daund Taluka, Pune District, Roti; 02117 202 13.
The deal: 06,000 for a couple inclusive of meals and wine tasting.
Fratelli, Akluj, Solapur
Sweeping views of the vineyards and glorious sunsets beckon at Fratelli’s all white guesthouse. Located in Akluj around 175kms from Pune and set in 240 acres, Fratelli is an Indo-Italian venture between Italy’s Secci brothers, Alessio and Andrea, the Delhi-based Sekhri brothers, Kapil and Gaurav; and Mohite-Patil Ranjitsinh and Arjunsinh from Solapur.
Fratelli abhors snobbish associations with wine. So, don’t expect the fussy formality of the grand château here. Up a twisting iron staircase are four large bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and muted, minimalistic décor. A stylishly designed living room with an open kitchen and television is where you assemble for meals. The food is delicious Maharashtrian fare. The tastings are done over a meal on a hill in the vineyard and are an absolute delight. You can sample a different varietal with each course: chardonnay with fresh garden vegetables dressed in a simple vinaigrette; an elegant sauvignon with the rustic mutton kheema and a rosé with dessert. A must try here is the Sangiovese Bianco, a crisp fresh white wine made from red grapes.
When you have had your fill of wines, explore the untamed wilderness around or stroll among the well-trained vines.There is a small collection of old Hindi movies, and ATV rides through the vineyard. For history buffs there’s the sound-and-light show at the fort in Akluj, and a temple to visit.
Where: Gate No. 131, Zanjewadi,Taluka, Malshiras, District Solapur; +91 779 841 8593
The deal: 011,000 all inclusive for a couple on weekends; 06,500 on weekdays
Soma Vine Village, Nashik
Just 12kms from Nashik, sits this charming vineyard producing some fine tipples, and fantastic farm-to-plate meals. The villas at Soma come with panoramic views of the backwater of the Gangapur dam and the Sahyadri mountain range. Throw in a luxurious pool, wine-based spa therapies, grape stomping, delicious French food and you have the perfect holiday.
After the tour and tastings you can wander through the village or relax with a glass of wine at the beautiful pool that streams down into the vineyard. The open-air amphitheatre here is perfect for a romantic dinner. Gaming enthusiasts can head to the Red Room equipped with table tennis, carroms, darts, foosball and pool.
If you’re not too tipsy, there are plenty of local walks and treks. Get out early and you may glimpse large Gray Babblers, Paddy-field Pipits, Rufous-tailed lark and the most beautiful Red Avadavats.
Where: Survey No. 1, Village Ganghavare, Gangapur-Ganghavare Road, Nashik; +91 7028066016
The deal: 010,000 for a weekend.
Vallonne Vineyards, Nashik
It’s the views, the peace, and the wine, of course, that make a stay at Vallonne so enchanting. The rooms are unabashedly romantic, with a king-sized bed, old-world vintage furniture, roomy balconies and views to die for. There are no television sets in the rooms, which works well as an incentive to get out and explore the lovely flowers and perfectly manicured lawns. Wine-maker Sanket Gawand takes you through the process of plucking to bottling with pride and pleasure. One of the highlights of a stay here is the highly acclaimed Asian restaurant Malaka Spice. Go for the snapper, trout and mackerel dressed in Malaka spice with a glass or two of the cabernet sauvignon classique.
When you have had your fill of the wines and the scenery enjoy a slice of the countryside with a hike in the mountains, a visit to the historical city of Nashik, bullock cart rides in the village or a walk through the farmlands. The image of the sun setting over the expansive vineyards is what you will take back with you.
Where: GAT 504, Kavnai Shivar, Near Sanjegaon, Taluka Igatpuri; +91 98191 29455 / +91 97691 30305
The Deal: 07,500 inclusive of breakfast and wine tasting
Grover Zampa, Nandi Hills, Bengaluru
Situated at 920m above sea-level and spread over 410 acres, the vineyards at Grover Zampa, Nandi Hills make for a stunning sight. Although, there is no homestay, a day trip is no less exciting. The wine tasting is conducted amidst oak barrels in the air-conditioned cellar with soothing music for company. A wholesome lunch awaits next. The region offers tranquil surroundings, a rich history and beautiful vistas to explore. Spare some time to train your binoculars over the spectacular Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Bulbuls, Blue Capped Rock Thrush, Tawny Eagles, Puff-Throated Babblers, etc.
Where: 63, Raghunathapura, Devanahalli Road, Doddaballapur; 08027622826, 08027622827
The Deal: 01,000 per head on weekends inclusive of lunch, a visit to the winery and wine tasting of five varietals. Grover helps you find accommodation if you so require, and gets good rates at Taj Bangalore.