Country roads.....take me home....to the place...I belong...!!!
That was the song I was humming as I drove along a highway soaking in the beauty of the nature around me. We, i.e. my wife, my friend and his wife, were on our way to Sula Wine Yard. We had been planning a weekend getaway for a long time, but unfortunately due to various other engagements it was getting delayed. So finally, last Saturday at around 8:30 AM we set off for Sula. Some amount of research on Sula had helped us form an idea about what to expect - both on the way (particularly during monsoons) and at the vinery.
We took the Mumbai-Agra Highway from Mulund and kept going straight on the highway, crossing Igatpuri on the way. The view was really breathtaking!! Wide exapnses of greenery left a soothing effect on the eye (now I understand why mom used to tell me look at trees and greenery instead of the TV). All along the way we saw innumerable hills - small medium and some huge ones - their caps shrouded by a mysterious looking sheets of cloud. The romantic in me was spurred to life by the scenic delight.
We took a half-hour break at a small, sleepy looking dhaba (roadside motel) to have a breakfast of poha, batata vada and steaming hot cups of tea. In spite of the break, we reached Garware junction in Nashik in four hours. After the hustle of life in Mumbai, Nashik was a welcome break. We had arranged for accomodation in Ginger Hotel which turned out to be much more value-for-money than other costlier hotels that I have stayed before.
We had lunch and were itching to get our tounges wet with Sula wine. A short 10 minutes drive (you need to ask directions for it though) took us to the vineyard. It is a rather small yard (35 acres there, though they have another 350 acres in some other place in Nashik). For Rs.150 we got a small tour of their facilities where the entire process of crushing, sedimenting etc. happens. Many might find that intriguing, but I have to confess I was more interested in the wine tasting session. There were six different varities of wine that we were given to taste, of which I liked just the last one - Sula Late Harvest.
Me and my wife with the yard in the backdrop
After the tasting session, we sat on a terrace restaurant overlooking the yard and a natural lake skirting the yard and sipped on wine that we bought there. A heady concoction of wine made me feel really happy. After an entertaining three hours we drove back to Ginger and started with another session of drinking - this time however it not wine, but something stronger.
I would not get into the details of what later in the evening but this trip is going to go down as a supremely enjoyable trip that I have had in a long time. This is a place I must recommend everyone who are looking for a refreshing change from the boredom of everyday city life.