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Posted: Wed, 08 January 2020 06:42

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SulaFest 2020: India’s Vineyard Music Festival back on Feb 1-2

Jan 08: Celebrating 20 years of Sula {1999-2019), SulaFest- India’s first and the biggest music festival in the vineyard is ready to roll for the 13th time on February 1-2, 2020, giving an opportunity to not only listen and groove with some of the top Indian and international bands and taste the range of Sula wines in a charged yet relaxing atmosphere but also visit the nearby vineyards, writes Subhash Arora who has attended six editions and loves the experience every time

Do you like music? I presume you like wine, of course. Then the time to visit Nashik is always the first weekend of February when you may visit not only country’s first and the biggest music festival in the rolling vineyards but can visit a few other vineyards as well.

The exciting line-up of musicians from around the world is there to cheer you. The British Chart-toppers - Hot Chip, will set the stage ablaze for the first time in India, spinning tracks from their latest record. The Merchant brothers Salim - Sulaiman, the popular Indian duo will bring in the Bollywood vibe- the two headliners in the evening at the amphitheatre.

With popular Dutch-New Zealand trio, My Baby (Joost van Dijck, Cato van Dijck and Daniel 'Dafreez' Johnston-for my Dutch friends), performing some of their hypnotic dance mixes, and The Local Train (Ramit Mehra, Raman Negi, Sahil Sarin and Paras Thakur) with a loads of Hindi rock songs, SulaFest promises to be music to the ears of the audience.

Music is the special attraction but not the only one at SulaFest. Many wine related activities will fill your schedule from Noon to Ten on both days. Lots of vineyard visits and wine tastings with winemakers and in-house sommeliers. Then there will be wine games, wine spa, morning yoga classes. You can also bicycle around in the vineyard where the Festival is being organised.

It may not be easy to get a place in The Source, the surrealist resort that was built around 3 years ago. But if you like outdoors, enjoy the camping experience by camping under the stars. Of course, the permanent feature-great food and flea bazaar are there for the foodies and shopaholics. For the green conscious, Sula has promised to plant a tree for every ticket sold, making it one of India's most sustainable music festival.

The numbers have seen a surge for all these years but with the infrastructure limitations, the number of tickets sold is not being increased this year, according to Monit Dhavale, Vice President Hospitality and in-charge of SulaFest. ‘We do not propose to increase the number of tickets sold because of physical limitations. But those coming are promised a fun-filled weekend with wine and music taking the center- stage,’ he says. The two days of SulaFest count for almost 5% of the annual number of about 350,000 visitors during the year.

Tickets are always sold out. Therefore, before you plan the trip or make your hotel bookings, it’s best to first buy the entry tickets which are priced at Rs. 2800 for a day and Rs. 4600 for both days. Food and drinks coupons may be bought at several booths at the Fest.

Celebrating the Wine Spirit

Although the weekend will go past you in a blink at SulaFest, you may like to add a visit to a couple of wineries in the vicinity-it might even be worth an extra day if time allows you. York Winery is almost next door. The 40,000 case winery makes over 15 labels and though they don’t plan special activities, they have a Tasting Room where you can taste 5 wines for Rs. 350 or Rs. 500 for premium wines. With a restaurant on the ground floor and the Tasting Room overlooking the Gangapur Lake, it may be anti-climax for some after wading through the thousands of people at Sula but it might be worth your while to taste their wines. Ravi Gurnani, Director says, ‘We don’t plan anything special for this weekend but we have a much bigger footfall over the SulaFest weekend,’ which is traditionally on the first weekend of February.

At 3 kms from Sula Vineyards is a boutique winery Soma Vineyards which is wine-tourism focused. Beyond by Sula was situated on this property, rechristened as Regenta Resort. There are a couple of villas too with individual swimming pools.. But don’t be optimistic about finding a place during SulaFest. They are generally booked out months in advance. But if you are with children, there is an adventure park that has various games for kids and young-at-heart. A couple of restaurants and enchanting views with 3 swimming pools welcome you. Pradeep Pachpatil, Director says we have again this year the travelling Italian winemakers Luca Tesssari and Alessandra Beni who were here last year, back to show you around and talk about all you wanted to know about wine with an international outlook.

One needs to know that Grover Zampa Vineyards is off limits this year as the visitor center is under total refurbishment with the La Reserve Center coming up with many attractive features. Of course, there is Vallonne Vineyards in Sanjegaon completing the Wine Route No.1 as suggested by delWine over 5 years ago. With the possibility of stay and the beautiful surroundings, it might be worth a visit on the way back but extra detour of about 15 kms from the main highway.

SulaFest is an important event in the wine calendar of Maharashtra, in fact for all the music loving wine connoisseurs of India. You may come back with lots of memories but be warned you may get hooked and want to go back year after year.

For a few of the earlier Articles, please visit:

Rajeev Samant: Tiger of Sula continues to Roar
SulaFest 2019: Record Crowd for a single Day on Sunday
SulaFest 2018: And the Beat Goes on
SulaFest ready to Rock n Roll for Tenth Year
SulaFest 2016: Another Memorable Feast for Music and Wine Lovers
DWC: Celebrating 10th Year in Nashik Vineyards
Sulafest-Mini Woodstock in Nashik

Subhash Arora

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