There have been many attempts at organizing wine festivals in India in recent memory. Sadly, most have fallen short on expectations on various fronts. However, as the demand for wine increases, irrespective of the various bans and the emerging socio-political landscape of the country, wine festivals in India have caught the fancy of the public. Here are the top four wine festivals in India that one ought to visit.
Bandra Wine Festival
The Bandra Wine Festival is organized in the month of November in Mumbai. The two-day festival promises lot more than just wine and attracts people from all over the country. However, it has been facing some problems off late, with the last installment of the event getting postponed by over 3 months. That apart, when it does happen, do not miss out on the fun it offers with grape-stomping championships, art exhibitions, dance and music, and of course, lots of good food.
The Pune Wine Festival is a replica of the Bandra Wine Festival and is organized by the same people, therefore, it gets a mention here with the note that ‘if you’ve been to the Bandra Wine Festival, you’ve been to the Pune Wine Festival as well’.
Sula Fest has perhaps been the only one of the lot that has had a good track record of being on time every year. Each year in the month of February, Sula Vineyards in Nashik transforms into a hotspot for the hottest bands and live music, along with some of the best wine and good food. However, the Sula Fest is and always has been more about music and performing arts than wine.
Grover Vineyards, the other big name in the Indian market organizes its own wine festival in Bangalore in the month of February. It is not as old as the Sula Fest, but attracts an enviable list of performers and crowds to the event grounds. 2016 marked the second edition of the festival and we hope there will be lot more before prohibition takes over the country for a foreseeable future.
Taj Wine Festival
Taj Mahal, New Delhi, organized its own version of a wine festival this year with over 50 wineries, making it one of the biggest wine festivals that actually focused on wine. Of course, there can’t be wine without food and celebration, however, all that was very limited and restricted only to a select guest list. The Taj Wine Festival saw the Navy Band playing at the Gala Dinner attended by the luminaries of the wine industry. Given all that, it remains more of an industry event rather than a real wine festival in the truest sense. But it is the first of its kind for the national capital and one hopes there will be more to come that will attract more than just the industry folks or the most serious wine connoisseurs.
Although, only the Sula Fest has been an annual affair for quite some time now, others are trying to emulate the same. In spite of the efforts by organizers, a lot remains to be done in order to attract the masses. India is far away from organizing something like VinItaly anytime soon, but these independent wine festivals leave us with a ray of hope that things might just change for good in the future.