As soon as I read my itinerary for the Maharasthra state of India stops aboard the Deccan Odyssey luxury train, one thing that stood out to me, as a wine enthusiast, was reading about our upcoming visit to Nashik, The Wine Capital of India. “Wine Capital?,” I thought, I never even heard about Indian wines before. So, it truly made me curious about visiting one of the Nashik Vineyards on a Grover Zampa Wine Tour. If I’m being honest, I was thinking that most likely the wine wouldn’t be as good as other wine regions I’ve visited so, I did not have high expectations. But let me tell you, I’m happy to admit how wrong I was. Indian wine is definitely underrated, and I want to highlight this experience and explain why India should be your next destination for a wine tour.
First, I am in love with hidden gems, the-off-beaten-path finds, and Nashik City is that and more. Just walking around this city was a spiritual and unforgettable experience. Nashik is located within the Maharashtra state, about 100 miles northeast of Mumbai – and, especially during the last 10 years, it has emerged as the “Wine Capital of India.” Nashik Valley is often referred to as “India’s very own Napa Valley” since it has the favorable climate and perfect soil for growing grapes.
Photo by: Dave, Jones around the world
Nashik Vineyards Experience – Grover Zampa Wine Tour
While visiting the city, a driver arranged by the Deccan Odyssey took us to visit one of the Nashik Vineyards. As soon as we got to the Grover Zampa Vineyards, they welcomed us with one of their sparkling wines, an amazing lunch and then gave us a tour of the vineyard. It was the perfect time to visit, a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, not too cold, and the grapes were almost ready for harvesting. My visit occurred this past February and I had a fantastic time.
Grover Zampa brand started with a dream of Kanwal Grover (father of Indian viticulture) to make Premium Indian Wines. The history starts from the 1960s, and is being enriched with every generation. In 2006, Ravi Jain and Deepak Roy, along with Neeraj Deorah, gave birth to Vallée de Vin in Nashik Valley (the one I got to visit). The son of Kanwal Grover, Kapil Grover carried on the tradition of producing premium quality indian wines and through his leadership, the vineyards have expanded from 100 acres to 400 acres. The first vines were planted in 2006. And after waiting for a long but inevitable period of two years to obtain good quality fruit, the first harvest took place in 2008. The first range of Zampa Wines was then proudly launched.
The highlight of this visit for me is the Grover Zampa vineyards and something that truly impressed me, as a fan of powerful women, is that the new generation of Grover Zampa and the current winemaker is a female. It is like the saying goes, “The future is female.” Her name is Karishma Grover, Kapil’s daughter, and she brings her own unique voice and a new perspective to the brand. A little about Karishma: After studying at the University of California (UC Davis), the world’s leading school of viticulture and oenology, she returned to take the winery forward in its expansion and, of course, continue producing the highest quality of wines India has to offer!
From my wine tasting experience at Grover Zampa, I have to say that I totally loved their Sparkling rose, Zampa Soirée Brut Rosé (Shiraz grape), La Réserve red wine (a blend of Cabernet-Sauvignon and Shiraz), and La Réserve Blanc (Viognier/Barrel Fermented). I also got to try some of their Art Collection (which I totally loved their Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, among others). It’s no wonder that many of their wines have won several awards, not only in Asia, but also in Europe and the USA.
If you’re going to India to see Mumbai, I strongly recommend that you also plan a visit to Nashik, not only to explore the Nashik Vineyards, to also experience this holy city.
And definitely consider visiting India in style by taking one of the fabulous luxury train journeys offered by The Deccan Odyssey (which includes a stop in Nashik).
Photo by: Aghil Menon Photography