Mid December just before the madness of Christmas & New Year hit us, the department organized a trip to Grover's Vineyard for some education on wines or as the staff appropriately recognized it as a wine drinking session and everyone was happy to come along.
Since i had been planning to go for a trip to Grover i was only to happy to reschedule my responsibilities and save up to 2000rs. :D Grover Vineyard is located at Raghunathpura in the vicinity of Nandi Hills. Relatively higher altitude and a rich viticulture makes it one of the better suited region of growing wine grapes within India Thank God it was also a perfect day for a day trip, clear blue skies with relatively low temperatures of around 28-30'C and low humidity. Manged to "captured the tranquility and simple beauty of the land the picturesque rolling hills planted with vineyards meeting the azure sky in the horizon."
Usually the such day trips start on raucous note this was one of the quietest bus load of people i had travelled with. Most fell asleep within 30 mins into the journey even though the vineyard is barely 45kms away from the city side.
After an hour or two i glimpsed the inviting vineyard from inside the bus
pretty soon met the coordinator Sajith as we gathered around him for some basic background on vines. He is passionate about wines without being overbearing about it. One of the few people whom i met.
then it was off to go into the rows of vines as he explained in more detail the anatomy of a vines and growing techniques.
unfortunate at mid December it was way post the harvest and processing season but we saw some Sauvignon Blanc in the early stages. Cute baby grapes, ready for harvest in late March perhaps?? (so if you wish to come here, come in late February till early April.
Cute baby grapes but
i was warned about the differences between table grapes and wine grapes but considering that wine have more sugar content of the two, i did not expect it to be so sour. yes, really i tried a raw
(cute baby) grape. Never mind my silly optimism, we took off for a walk around the gorgeous vineyard.
it was a beautiful day! perfect for spending some time with friends
post the walking in between row after row of vines it was time to see the precessing process. Since it was the off season, there was nothing much to see and i was happy to skip to the tasting. :D
clear gleaming glasses set with plates of crackers and cheese sticks were set on the refurnished wine barrels that are given a second lease of wine as furniture. since more than 5 hours had past us by since breakfast, everyone could have shown some restraint but... -_____x some instincts are just too blase to overcome even as our guide tried to teach us the finer point on enjoying a glass of various types of wine from Chenin Blanc and Shiraz ...
we had a few bored students while some were more interested
well cheers to that!! For a few are actually paying attention to it.
finally it was time for Lunch! it was a simple meal of Briyani, raita and julab jamun. Nothing exciting but filling.
post Lunch it was time to sit out in the lawn and enjoy the day by sipping on wines all available for purchase at discounted rates in a tiny shop..
The trip is not a must see or do but if you do enjoy a glass or two of wines and would like to know the finer details of appreciating it, the trip is highly recommended. You will leave with a sense of better knowledge of a day well spent and hands heavy with bottles of wine that are up to 25% cheaper than the MRP prices. It's a great way to spend some time in the outskirts of the city away from all the hustle and bustle with friends or family. While the kids may not be able to enter certain parts like bottling area, they have a great place for them to play in the lawns.
Mail Grover Vineyard for more information or if you reside outside Bangalore, visit Wine Tour India website for vineyard tours available throughout India. Try to come in your own transportation as distances between vineyard and processing plant is 1km away and you will not find public transportation.
You may not enjoy it so much, if your hidden motive is to get drunk as each tastings are barely 20ml each. Unless you rarely drink. Lunch is plain and wines are not included. But feel free to purchase a bottle to two to enjoy wine with your food. ^_^ Dont get disheartened if you cant smell melons and cherries in your wine, it takes time to develop a nose.