The Grape Escape: Sumedh Singh Mandla

Jaw dropping scenic views of the lush green vineyards, grape stomping, sipping on some of the finest tipples paired with cheese and farm to fork food. Visiting vineyards is a trend that’s fast catching up with not just the wine enthusiasts, but also those who want to indulge in novel experiences. Next time when you open a bottle of wine, you will know exactly how the vino managed to acquire that smooth flavour with just the right hint of fruits, spices or that deep hue. Decode the entire process of winemaking on your next trip to a winery. Here’s a roundup of all the popular wineries you can visit.

By Namita Gupta

Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, Grover Zampa Vineyards

Genie in a bottle: A remarkable combination formed as a result of a merger between Grover Vineyards Ltd and Vallée De Vin Pvt Ltd, Grover Zampa Vineyards boasts the most impressive pedigree in the Indian wine industry today and owns brands that are widely recognised in the Indian wine market. Grover Vineyards was incepted in the late 70’s, a brain child of Kanwal Grover who was joined by George Vesselle, the Technical Director of Vineyards of Champagne Mumm at that time. Extracting the collective best from the international grape varietals and Indian terroir at Nandi Hills and Nashik Valley, Grover Zampa exhibits the extraordinary lineage in the Indian wine industry.

Wine varietals: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.

Vineyard tours: The twin locations of Nandi Hills in Karnataka and Nashik Valley in Maharashtra, the natural protection of the Nandi Hills and the terraced slopes of Nashik offer fresh climate and fertile soil, the perfect conditions for vine growing. The combination of wine-making techniques, perfect terroir conditions for vine growing and the magical touch of world famous wine expert Michel Rolland bestows a distinguishing style, complex aroma and a delicate flavour to these wines. You can take vineyard tours at the outskirts of Bengaluru (about 40 km away), near Devanahalli, an area which has risen as a rich wine producing area. The overall quality of a grape vine is determined by the weather, sloping hills and soil. This poses no problem for Grover Zampa since their vineyards spread over 400 acres sit comfortably on the foothills of Nandi Hills.

After the vineyard walk, the wine tour includes a visit to the grape crushing unit, understanding the wine-making process such as filtering, fermentation, bottling and labelling, tour of the barrel room, wine tasting in the cellar concluding with lunch. “Our grapes are processed in temperature controlled cellars equipped with modern materials and our own bottling lines. The grapes are processed in a cooling room. We have controlled cellars equipped with modern resources such as temperature controlled tanks and our own bottling lines. This ensures that the quality remains uncompromised throughout the wine making process. Winemaking is done in different tanks according to the different kinds of grape and of plots of land where the grape has come from in order to respect the specificity of each terroir. Most of the wine processing equipments and tanks are imported, mainly from Italy, which is known for being one of the best manufacturers of stainless steel cellar equipment,” says Sumedh Singh Mandla.

The entire method of wine-making is finely orchestrated and monitored by the world famous wine consultant Michel Rolland, to give a discrete style and balance to the wines. “For the last four years, Karishma Grover and Mathias Pellissard have been our winemakers. The process involves meticulous grape selection on sorting tables: we remove all the leaves, unripe and unwanted berries that can give greenish and unpleasant aromas. This captures the essence of the fruit from the vineyard. New Oak Barrels aging for our premium wines gives the wines interesting spice, vanilla or even smoky aromas and enables you to keep them for a longer time. We also host Wine Festivals. Our Great Grover Wine festival is South India’s biggest wine festival. It is held every February but the next edition might happen in end November or beginning of December this year. Guests enjoy a perfect mix of live entertainment and recreational activities including an exclusive chance to experience the age-old tradition of grape stomping, stand up acts, live karaoke, sculpture gallery, flea market and much more,” says Sumedh. Kanwal Grover, founder of Grover Wines adds, “Our skilled team works scrupulously using sustainable practices coupled with selective hand harvesting. Our wines remain appealing yet distinctive in style by applying up-to-date viticulture and winemaking techniques which capture the essence of the fruit from the vineyard.” Wine tours are held from Tuesday–Friday between 10:30 am to 1 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm for Rs 850 per head. This tour includes lunch, winery visit and wine tasting (5 varietals) and Rs 1000 per head on weekends. This includes lunch, winery visit and wine tasting (5 Varietals).

Not just wine & cheese: Zampa Chene Grande Reserve pairs well with a wide variety of dishes right from roasts, stews and grilled meats to rice dishes grilled vegetables and pasta. Va Reserve Collection White pairs well with seafood, river fish, chicken, coastal Indian cuisine, goat and blue cheese, tarts and fruit desserts. Va Reserve Collection Red pairs well with medium spicy Asian cuisine, Indian kebab preparations, red meat and strong cheeses. Zampa Soiree Brut is brilliant as an aperitif and makes for a great pairing with mildly spiced Indian, Japanese, Chinese or Thai cuisine. Zampa Soiree Brut Rose is perfect during a meal with white meat or a dessert with a red fruit gratin. Enjoy Grover La Reserve Blanc with blue cheese, seafood and white meats or as an aperitif. Grover La Reserve pairs well with roasted lamb, tenderloin, pasta dishes, game, pâté, soft full flavour cheeses and also complements Indian specialties such as lamb kebabs and mutton biryani. Grover Art Collection Chenin Blanc is a delightful aperitif and pairs will with creamy seafood, fresh cheese and white meat. Grover Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with salads, light fish, seafood, mushrooms and cheese appetizers. Grover Art Collection Viognier goes with light spicy fish dishes, seafood, white meat, blue cheese, tarts and spicy Indian cuisine and Grover Art Collection Rose is best with mildly spiced preparations of fish and poultry. It pairs well with light stir fries and gentle aromatic cuisine.

Where: 63, Raghunathapura, Devanahalli Road, Doddaballapur, Bengaluru.

Call: +91 95133 38752 / +91 99016 36346