Let me begin with some history. Nasik is an ancient city in the state of Maharashtra in India. Nasik which is well known for it’s Kumbh Mela is also famous for its wines. The finest wines of India are from Nasik. In the early Nineties, Rajeev Samant, who is now the founder / CEO of Sula Vineyards quit his silicon valley job with a vision. And the vision was Vineyards and Winery in Nasik. The apt climate aided the growth of grapes, and Nasik slowly grew to be the wine hub and is now known as The Wine Capital of India.
Apart from Sula Vineyards, there are quite a few vineyards in and around Nasik like the York Vineyards and Soma Vineyards. We decided to visit York Winery for the following reasons:
1. Situated near the Gangapur Dam, the property has a beautiful, closer view of the lake on the northern side and a hill on the southern side and
2. It is less crowded when compared to Sula Vineyards.
When we reached the York Winery, there were a bunch of people into their tour and tasting. Good for us, we waited, and we were the last two to go around the estate and enjoy our wines in peace.
We asked Sandeep, our tour guide, as to why Nasik was chosen as the location for growing grapes and wine making. He told us that the natural slope of the terrain does not retain water thus contributing to the quality of fruits grown here. Also, the red soil of the region is appropriate for the growth of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties. The Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used in making Red Wine and the Sauvignon Blanc grapes are used for making white wine.
Winemaking is a complex process; put in simple terms, this is how it goes:
Following harvest, Yeast is added to the grape juice to allow fermentation. The yeast breaks down the sugars in the grape juice into Alcohol + Carbon dioxide (which is a by-product). Carbon dioxide eventually bubbles out and leaves behind ethanol (alcohol) + water. Simple chemistry huh? Well, it is much more than that! As Sandeep was answering all the questions Shyam had, I clicked as many pictures as possible. Sandeep was an efficient tour guide and he loved what he did. His passion for his work was evident when he said ‘At York, Everyday is a holiday’. Well, not everyone is that lucky!
After the tour, we headed to the York’s Tasting Room. The York Tasting Room is calm and peaceful, overlooking the beautiful lake. It is just perfect for those long conversations over a glass of wine. As part of the tour & tasting, we got to taste 7 different wines. Listing down the wines and their description as per the York’s Wine List.
1. York Rose – An aromatic, smooth wine with notes of strawberry.
White Wines –
2. York Sauvignon Blanc – A crisp and fruity wine with notes of tropical fruits and asparagus.
3. York Chenin Blanc – Light, refreshing wine with apricot and guava aromas on the nose.
4. York Late Harvest Chenin Blanc – A sweet, luscious wine with flavors of honeydew, lemon and tropical fruits.
Red Wines –
5. York Shiraz – This is a smooth medium bodies red wine with a rush of tropical herbs and spices.
6. York Arros – The flagship Red Wine of York, crafted from the grapes of estates vineyards.
Sparkling Wines –
7. York Sparkling Cuvée Brut – This is a light styled complex wine. Matured in bottle for more than 12 months, it has perfumed character of lemons.
So, the tasting began – Swirl, Sniff , Sip and Savor.
Let me be honest with you, I did not understand the description of the wines at all. I was having wine for the first time and I could not make out the difference between any of the notes. I kept guessing the flavors, getting it right sometimes and failing miserably most of the times. I liked the York Rose, York Late Harvest Chenin Blanc and I loved York Sparkling Cuvée Brut. York Sparkling Cuvée Brut was sparkling, light, refreshing and everything that I’d want my wine to be.
After the tour & tasting, we had a very late lunch in the restaurant at York. Amazing food & an amazing company makes a perfect combination. Later that evening, we walked around the estate sipping our favorite wines and looking at acres and acres of vineyards which lay ahead of the lake. Neither of us spoke much. We enjoyed the moment, the company, the evening and the wine. That was by far the best evening we’ve had together.
- The cost for the tour and tasting at York Winery is Rs. 250 per head which includes the tour + 7 wine samples. The other option is for Rs.150 which includes the tour + 5 wine samples.
- The wines are available for 10% discount at York Winery.
- The Vineyard is situated on the outskirts of Nasik with little/no public transport facilities. Make arrangements accordingly.