A weekend trip in this weather is inevitable for most of us and for all of us in Mumbai that destination is usually Lonavala. How original! And surprisingly enough, no matter how many times we visit Tiger Point, with every monsoon, one visit is guaranteed. It’s almost like a yearly target. And why not? Because after the crowded murky lanes of Mumbai that we have to witness every single day, a patch of greenery and an open space where people will not stomp on your feet as they rush for meetings, is more than just welcome! I hadn’t been to Sula and so this time I decided I’d rather do a weekend trip and have some wine then the usual chai-pakora at the overly crowded Tiger Point.
Sula Vineyards is a great place to visit if you want a quick getaway and yet feel like you actually vacationed. The roads leading up to Sula in Nashik are kept clean and that adds to the overall experience that the trip provides. No one wants to drive their way around pot holes and uneven patches. And you don’t need to. The roads are well maintained and apart from the usual deflection that comes in the form of slight traffic, you can just roll down your windows, put on good music and drive away with GPS being a major assistance in this process. I would be lost without GPS. I feel I can get lost even with GPS guiding me, so one can imagine what must be happening without a voice that screams out directions every 2 minutes. Bless advancement in technology, truly!
So when you enter Sula you will find a million people taking selfies and pictures at the entrance where the SULA sign is situated. I myself intended to do it but the general enthusiasm of the people who I saw almost climb on the sign posts scared me and I moved on. Starting with the wine tour, we bought our tickets which are priced at Rs.375 which I felt was pretty reasonable for an entire tour along with the tasting. So we started off with a guy named Prashant who served as our tour guide and explained all the wines and their possible benefits. It’s quite pleasing to hear someone telling you that you can have one glass of red wine a day and it’s good for your heart. Now red wine takes a while to get used to but white wine on the other hand is slightly sweet and usually does not require developing taste. So after the tasting, which included around 12 different wine samples going from white wine to red to finally dessert wine (which is incredibly sweet), we headed to the balcony which is a relaxing place to sit, unwind with bottles of wine and food as you look over the lush green vineyard right up to the mountains in the far distance. It's soothing and after two or three glasses of wine, you could probably plop your feet up and go off to sleep.
I would say the balcony is possibly the best aspect of SULA as they play soft music and the wine with the view contributes heavily to your state of mind. It takes you miles and miles away from the city, it’s pace and everything that can remind you of rush, crowds and banter. I could sit there for hours just eating great food and sipping on Chenin Blanc. What can make it tons better is a spot of rain while you sit amidst the greenery. But as it always happens, we went on the exact weekend when the sun came out and there wasn’t a drop of rain or a cloud in sight. But regardless, Sula is an experience you would want to live.
P.S- There are also two restaurants at Sula, one is the famous chain 'Little Italy' and the other is a north indian place called 'Soma'. Now of course if you have been having wine and intend to keep consuming more of it, I would personally suggest an Italian place because nothing tastes as good as a goat cheese pizza or a ricotta stuffed ravioli with wine. But I guess to each his own. Both places are vegetarian though, so if you go in to the north Indian place expecting a plateful of rich butter chicken gravy and kebabs. Sorry. Not happening. But do head to Nashik. It's a beautiful place and an even better road trip :)