This is our concluding part to the wine-tours article. This is where things get more interesting. These tours are more for the Wine-Enthusiasts, who are looking to experience some top-notch Indian Wines, in the company of knowledgeable winemakers. As we continue our quest to scour Bengaluru for Vineyards, both the Wine and the scenery get better. In case you missed reading the first part of this article, here is the link to it:
The Grover Vineyards are located at Doddaballapura, Bangalore and the Vineyard Entrance is right on the Devanahalli Road, which makes it easy to find. It is nearly 50 km from M.G road, and I would suggest taking the Telecom Layout road route, for the last 20 km, to experience a peaceful and scenic drive.
While Grover Wines are highly acclaimed Indian Wines, their Wine Tour is less than spectacular. It begins on the lawns with a brief history session about Grover, proceeds through the winery, and culminates in their barrel room which really has a charm of its own, and the best tasting room in Bangalore in my opinion. You get to taste 5 of their wines, 4 of which are from their Art Collection, 1 Red, 2 Whites and a Rose. The last Wine you get to taste is their critically acclaimed La Reserve, which is a delightful Indian Red Wine, destined for greatness.
Their Vineyards are around 3 km away from the Tasting Room, and you can also take a tour of the Vineyards, if you have the time. The food they serve is decent, and pairs appropriately with their Wine. You can also have Wine by the Glass, if you wish to sample more of their wines.
They also provide Wine-Stomping facilities in special vats, for large groups only.
Wine(s) I would buy:
Grover Zampa Chêne: This is one of my favourite Indian Wines. A blend of the Spanish Tempranillo and Syrah grapes, this beautiful fruity wine is superbly balanced and has an elegant finish.
Zampa Soire Brut Rose: Sparkling Rose Wines are rare, and this Brut Rose made with Syrah grapes is certainly a must-have in your special-occasions wine-collection. Light, creamy with a hint of strawberry, this is the perfect wine to savour on a dinner date with someone special. Serve Chilled!
Wine Tour and Lunch Weekdays : INR 850 per person
Wine Tour with Lunch Weekends : INR 1000 per person
Bangalore Soma Vineyards
The Bangalore Soma Vineyard is located at Sonnenahalli, close to the Makalidurga fort. It is nearly 70 km from MG Road and about 20 km from the Grover Vineyards in Doddaballapura. The last kilometer from the main road to the Vineyard is a bit confusing if you are using Google Maps to navigate. My Advice: Follow the arrows on the road, to reach the Vineyard.
This Vineyard is by far, the most scenic Vineyard on the list, flanked by the Makali Hills on one side, and the Gundamagere Lake on the other. It boasts of 3 artificial ponds, and should you wish to swim in them, you would need to inform the management in advance. They currently grow 3 grape varieties in their Vineyard, which are also exported to other wineries. The tour starts off with a Vineyard walk, where the 3 grape varieties are shown and their farming/texture/properties explained in lucid detail, if you would like to know more. Then comes the tasting of 3 of their wines, and each wine is paired with a specially designated area, to ensure that you can enjoy the wine more. This is a beautiful concept and equally well-executed. For example, they serve their Rose Wines, as you watch the sun setting over the Makali Hills, and needless to say, this is one sunset you are unlikely to forget.
The pairing of snacks with the wine is appropriate, and their-quality is top-notch. If you are visiting in a small group, catering is done in-house, and the food is thoroughly enjoyable.
If you would like to stay over, you need to request for it well in advance, and it is at the discretion of the owners.
Peaceful, picturesque, breath-taking, this is one Vineyard I could keep visiting every weekend and still not get enough off. Their wines are decent, and unfortunately, the Reserve wine was unavailable when I visited. The passion of the owners, the attention to detail in the Vineyards and the enchanting views, make this one Vineyard whose progress I would follow closely.
Tip: In case you are travelling here early morning, a trek to the nearby Makalidurga fort and temple can also be planned.
Wine(s) I would buy:
Bangalore Soma Sauvignon Blanc: This is a crisp White Wine, with its acidity being on the higher side but with a smart finish. It pairs beautifully with Indian Food.
Wine Tour/Tasting with Snacks : INR 1500 per person
Wine Tour with Lunch/Dinner : INR 2500 per person
Overnight Stay and breakfast (On Request): INR 2000 per person
Bangalore also has another Vineyard called the ‘BlackBuck Vineyard’, which is not owned by Salman Khan! On a serious note, it is located nearly 120 km from Bangalore in Maidanahalli. Unfortunately, I was unable to contact the owners through email and phones in-spite of repeated attempts. Though I understand, they have a full day package with stay included at INR 4000 per person.
This concludes the two-part Wine tour series in Bangalore. Stay tuned to this section as we take on the Wine-Makers on their own turf and ask them some hard questions about Wine-Making, Grapes and the best wines on their list.