Photos By:: Subhash Arora
From its humble beginnings in 1997, Sula has definitely come a long way and has established itself as a world-class winery and pioneer of sorts. They were the first to grow and introduce Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Dessert Wines, and recently Riesling, in the Indian market. They brought a top international wine consultant to push for high grape quality amidst flaky Indian growing conditions, after which several wineries followed suit. When it comes to Sula’s pioneering efforts in winegrowing and winemaking, the list simply goes on.
Sula is truly a company of firsts. The company’s recently launched Club Sula is a free membership programme that rewards members with special offers, event invitations, access to limited release wines & other goodies. The club has already garnered 15,000 members with more being added to the list by the day.
When it comes to wine tourism, the Sulafest went further in establishing Nashik as a wine destination, which in turn benefitted all other wineries in the area. And recently, Sula went a step further with the creation of India’s first wine resort, Beyond.
Beyond Vineyard Resort (at a few kms distance from the Winery) takes wine tourism to a new level in India as it provides wine lovers with the opportunity to savour a wine experience that goes ‘beyond’ just a day trip to wine country. The resort offers 32 well-appointed plush rooms, each named after a wine grape. The room itself is spacious with high ceilings, and the balcony provides a scenic view of the vineyards or lake. This full-functioning resort also houses a gymnasium, spa, pool, restaurant, and in addition, fun activities to ensure that children are engaged.
But if you think that that Beyond was the farthest that Sula is set to go in a long time, think again!
On 14th October 2013, Sula unveiled its new range of sparkling wines at its winery in Nashik. It was at that time, that Sula introduced its unique Tasting Cellar, thereby adding another feather in its cap. While the Tasting Room on top has been in existence for several years with its open-air ambience, the Tasting Cellar is a state-of-the-art tasting venue on the lines of California Wineries.
Having lived close to California wine country for several years and reporting on the same for delWine from there, I have had the opportunity to visit many of their top wineries and tasting cellars. So this new addition by CEO Rajeev Samant pleasantly surprised me, as it was completely reminiscent of the ones where I have tasted the finest wines in California.
The Tasting Cellar has a long bar manned by well-trained servers. Patrons can either sit at the bar or on high tables scattered in the open area. All in all, Sula’s Tasting Cellar completes the journey of wine that begins with a tour of the vineyards, giving wine patrons a complete wine experience akin to top-class wineries all over the world. And to further complete this experience, the winery also houses two restaurants of renowned chains, Little Italy and Soma, which serve Italian and Indian cuisines respectively.
The Tasting Cellar is sure to enthrall wine lovers visiting the Sula Winery. With every new initiative, Sula keeps increasing the benchmark for other wineries. But for CEO Rajeev Samant, it’s not just about business. He says, “We want to promote wine tourism and establish Nashik as a world class wine destination.”
Kudos to Samant as every new effort on his side benefits not only Sula but also other wineries in the area as well!
Rishi Vohra, CSW
Rishi Vohra is the Mumbai Correspondent of delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators - USA. He has done an MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law from WWF-India. His debut fiction novel, ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,’ is a bestseller and was recently awarded an honorable mention in the General Fiction category at the Hollywood Book Festival, and was the only book from India to be awarded at the festival. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Tags: Sula Vineyards, Tasting Cellar, Nashik, Club Sula, Sulafest, Beyond Vineyard Resort, Little Italy, Soma, Rajeev Samant