Salut!! My love affair with wine began somewhere in the early 2000 when I was able to live independently on my own in New Delhi. Of course the initiation began with cheaper wines like Sula, Grover, etc which were pretty easy on the pocket. As time passed, I moved onto better tasting wines and began to understand my wine palate somewhat. But its only after I attended a few wine tasting sessions, that this world truly unfolded for me. Not quite a connoisseur but I know what I like and generally end up pocking good bargains. Soon I began to incorporate visiting a vineyard on my travels around the world and now that’s a thing must do on my travel list.
Presenting some of the unique vineyard experiences that I have been blessed to undertake and a few from my fellow travel bloggers from around the world.. Hope you like reading this post and would love to hear back from you. Perhaps of your own vineyard sojourns?
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Vineyard of Moet & Chandon, Champagne, France by Shalzmojo
During a trip to Paris, I had ear marked a visit to the world famous Champagne region of France for its vineyards. I was lucky enough to book a trip to Moet & Chandon in Epernay which boasts of the best Champagne in the world. The drive was through one of the most picturesque region with rolling green upon green of grape vines.
The most unique thing about this estate is the 28 Kms long network of underground tunnels which houses their wine cellars. The tunnels are dug out of the white chalk stone and are spread at many levels under the city. The coolness and humidity of these underground cellars is a key ingredient in maturing the Champagne.
The wine expert guided the tour through this maze of intersecting tunnels where we could gaze at rows upon rows of barrels and bottles of maturing wine. We were shown an array of bottles of differing sizes which we were told are the various sizes in which Champagne is sold. It was a unique display and I was totally in awe of it.
The tour was peppered with some excellent commentary about wine making, including the secret of getting the bubbles in the bottle. I learnt of the difference of the colors of the wines which is dependent on the grape varieties grown here. And yes Rose’ is made by mixing Red and White wines together in certain proportions.
End of the tour is marked with a wine tasting session at their grand reception area where the bubbly flows endlessly. Its the first time I tasted Pink Champagne and became quite a fan of it too.
I would definitely recommend that you plan to include a visit to Champagne country and you can pick from a tonne of vineyards to visit. There are several tours available inclusive of transportation, etc and can be customized further to suit individual itinerary
Heritage Winery, Bangalore, India by Shalzmojo
The Heritage winery which is situated in Ram Nagar-a mere 2 hours drive from Bangalore, in Channapatna district is one of the most delightful vineyard trips that I have done in the past few years. Its a very well stocked campus with excellent rest rooms, a dine in restaurant, a play area for children and beautiful rolling green lawns.
There is a wine studio where the sommelier takes you through the myriad steps of tasting wines and I got to taste about 6-8 wines that day. And following what was being instructed, I could very well discern the flavors of petrol, cut grass, smoke and sawdust among the weird ones. Who knew wine could be infused with such exotic flavors which lie just beneath the surface.
Following the tasting, we were led to a covered patio where a large wooden tub was being filled with chubby purple grapes. Shedding our shoes, we rolled up our pants and jumped in to squish away. I cannot even begin to explain the amazing feeling one is injected with while stomping on tonnes of soft squishy fruit which bled all of its juice into a bloody purple hue.
Post the grape stomping fun, we settled in at one of the large tables in the restaurant overlooking the green lawns and proceeded to have a sumptious meal. Of course it was all washed down by copious amounts of sangrias.
The wine tasting session, vineyard tour and the grape stomping costed us about 800/- each. Lunch was extra at their in-house restaurant.
Sula Vineyards, Nasik, India by Shalzmojo
Sula vineyards are located overlooking the serene waters of Gangapur lake in Nasik, Maharshtra and are at a distance of 200 odd Kms from Mumbai. The road trip includes some scenic vistas of the Western Ghats which are a pleasure during the rainy season due to the lush greenery. I had first visited the Sula Vineyards in 2014 and since then much has changed in its facilities.
Its quite a charming resort that welcomes you with its luxurious environs and you never want to leave. The food and wine at their in house dining are just excellent and was such a pleasure to take my meals there. I hardly stepped out of the resort in the two days that I was there though I did walk down to the vineyard main compound. This is where their brewery and cellars are located along with a terrace cafe overlooking rolling vistas of grape vines in neat rows.
I wasn’t much enamored by their wine tour or the wines or the brewery as I had been pretty blown away by the ones I had visited in Champagne country in France. Not a fair comparison but there you have it. Having said that, I would love to go back for a visit as this is the only vineyard that I know of which has accommodation and an excellent spa too. Yes they have wine based spa treatments on the menu which are quite sumptious and to be tried to be believed.
Vineyard of Prosecco Hills, Italy by Terri Markle
Last October, I spent a week walking the idyllic vineyard of Prosecco Hills—situated between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano in northeast Italy. While I love the Italian bubbly to make the classic Venetian Aperol spritz, I typically prefer a red wine for dining. But I went on a bender for prosecco after sampling in multiple tastings.
In 2019, Prosecco Hills was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. This area produces more than 90 million bottles for export annually for the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG. There is even an Enological School of Conegliano, to discover the secrets of sparkling wine making.
So I could deserve the calories necessary for multiple tastings as well as sample guilt-free the homemade Italian salami, cheese and olives, I hiked every day on the circuit of vineyards known as theL’Anello Del Prosecco Superiore. I start my walk every morning after breakfast, traversing through small Italian villages,forests and farmland. Hiking boots are a necessity!
There are acres of vineyards which feature hogback hills (ciglioni), which is small plots of vines grown on narrow grassy terraces.The hilly landscape features a checkerboard design drawn by rows of vines which run parallel and vertical to the slopes.
Lunch is a leisurely stop at a picnic area, such as Osteria Senz’Oste, a self-serve restaurant which sells prosecco in vending machines. After a two-hour afternoon hike, it is obligatory to stop for prosecco tasting. You typically need to hire a van or Uber to get back to your hotel!
Vineyard of Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France by Victoria Heinz
Saint-Émilion might just be the most famous wine area in the world. As part of Bordeaux this village and its many surrounding chateaux make some of the best and most expensive wine there is. If you’re not willing to spend hundreds of Euros on a bottle of Premier Grand Crus classés then why not go on a guided wine tour which usually includes at least one tasting.
In Saint-Émilion you can take a little train to take you all around the vineyards without having to walk in the hot sun. This is the best way to see the area and its beautiful chateaux while enjoying a refreshing glass of wine. As part of the tour you get to explore the caves of some of the oldest wineries in Saint-Émilion. You’ll get to see the delicate process of wine-making and learn all about the unique climate conditions this area of France has which make it perfect for growing grapes.
There are over 200km of caves and passages under the hills of Saint-Émilion all filled with expensive wines, some dating back hundreds of years. After your wine tour you need to make sure to visit the old town of Saint-Émilion and try the famous Macaroons. You can’t find them anywhere else and they’re the perfect afternoon snack.
So what did you think of that? Do you have any vineyard experiences of yours that you would like to share with me? Drop me an email in that case and I will love to feature you on my blog.
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A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant ones too. My forte is in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community. I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.
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