Nothing like a trip to vineyard to get the juices flowing. And getting of the mess that is Mumbai is always a treat in itself. I jumped at the chance to accompany my food reviewer friend to Grover’s vineyards in Sanjegaon, Nashik Valley for a day trip. The event was The Great Grover Stomp where a part of the festivities was getting in a big barrel filled with grapes and smashing them with our bare feet.
Idyllically situated on a fine piece of land and wonderfully laid out, the vineyard is a beautiful place, lush and green. Pity that they don’t have permanent residences or a hotel there; but that’s planned for apparently.
Journalists like us were part of a larger gathering but we got the special tour by Mr Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of Grover Zampa who took great delight in showing us around the sloping vineyard, the wine vats and oak barrels in the tasting room. “The Great Grover Stomp gives us an opportunity to celebrate with our patrons, and host a relaxed day for our guests with an array of fun filled activities aimed at rejuvenating and providing a learning experience with wines,” he says.
We even got to eat some of the grapes in the vineyard. And no, they don’t taste like wine they taste like grapes. The wine did taste like wine though and Grover boasts some fine, award winning wines like Zampa Chene Grand Reserve, La Reserve, the Art Collection Viognier as well as their premium sparkling wines Zampa Soirée Brut and Brut Rosé. Mr Mandla says, “We are proud of our heritage as the oldest wine brand in the country. Even though the Indian wine industry is just about two decades old yet wine drinking has evolved to a great extent in the country. The beverage has gained immense acceptance.”
The tasting at a grand table in wine barrel room gave us a feel of the aromas, tastes and textures of four of Grover’s award winning wines.
‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ In this case both music and wine showed us some lovin’. The weather was crisp, not too hot with a cooling breeze, perfect to enjoy a pleasant afternoon soaking up the ambience and the wine.
The actual stomping of the grapes was something you couldn’t leave without experiencing. So off with the socks and shoes and into the grape barrel. It was cold and mushy but surprisingly invigorating.
A spa experience and a cooking demonstration – utilising wine of course – were also part of the event that was catered by The Gateway Hotel.
Art with wine, an interesting collection of artwork by artists Jatin Das and Rini Dumal were on display. They subsequently went on auction with a batch of wines. The proceeds went to a local school to build a water tank for the children there. Who says drinking is bad for you!
Oh and they had some interesting little contest stalls set up. At one you had to sniff essences and guess the fragrance. You know, some wines have a fruity bouquet and there’s a hint of chocolate or plum. So the tiny numbered bottles contained essences; guess two or three out of three and you win a bottle of Grover wine. And I did, yay! Of course they had plenty of wines on sale at the venue as well at a discount for the guests.
A video at Grover Zampa vineyards and tasting room:
Check out their website here: www.groverzampa.in