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Wine Tourism: Visit to Four Season's Vineyard at Rotti, Pune

Thursday, March 21, 2013 , , 55 Comments

Wine to me is passion. It is family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living. -Robert Mondavi
Four Seasons Winery, Baramati, Pune
India is slowly awakening to wine culture and we are still a giant step away from ordering a little wine along with our dinner/ main course or sipping over an evening soiree. The scenario is fast changing however and to harness more and more public demand towards this sector, breweries in India are going out of their usual way to promote it.

I am a wine enthusiast. My parents promoted wine taste buds from an early teenage. It was then known to be more therauptic than just a lifestyle drink. Guess what I didn't like it much and sipped only during the dinners. Times have changed and so did my preferences. I started enjoying my wines more than anything else and they have become a great companion of my platter and my palate.

I was joyous when I received an invitation from Four Season Wines, a part of UB, to visit their Baramati vineyard and spend a day there. Located at Rotti, Baramati about 2 hours away from Pune, Four season's vineyard was a pleasure to visit. It was an endearing experience to visit a winery, see the wine making process that aim to develop good quality Indian wines at affordable rates. 

I was joined with four other amazing bloggers- Deeba Rajpal, Sangeeta Khanna, Rekha Kakkar & Pawan Soni (Indian Food freak)

"Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures."  -Michael Broadbent

We were well received by bright noon, a beautiful Chateau and a warm welcome with a crisp bubbly- bouvet-ladubay as a welcome drink. The bubbly just rolled up in my tongue, smoldering me enough to add it in my list of preferred wines. The timing was just apt as the grapes were ripened and harvested, crushing & fermentation was in progress. That also meant that we couldn't see the cluster of grapes clinging to vines. The arrangement was superb and after a little bit of freshening up, we were taken to the dining room where we met some very interesting people like Abhay Kewadkar (Chief Wine Maker at UB group) , Celebrity Chef- Niilesh Limaye, Rewa Singh & Bunty Singh from Sommelier India and food connoisseur Sourish Bhattacharya from Mail Today.


The menu & food pairing -


We were served the brand new wine range from the soon to be launch- Ritu collection, which were unusually & quite brilliantly paired with authentic Maharastrian cuisine. First in delight brigade was refreshing Konkani Sol Kadhi (traditional drink made from kokum & coconut milk), followed by starters comprising of Bombil Rawa Fry and Suranchi Kaap Paired with Ritu Sauvignon Blanc.

Main course was –Tilatli Kolambi & Batata phulawar cha Rassa paired with Ritu Viognier and stuffed eggplant and Mutton Saoji paired with Ritu Shiraz Barrique Reserve. 

Dessert stole the show with Tandalchchi kheer & Beet Lapsicha halwa with Gulkand Rabdi.

I have always freaked my dining quotient over red wines but thanks to Four Seasons, I started loving white wine more and post this visit- the bubbly one. My overall verdict-While non veggies looked good, a little more care could be given to vegetarian cuisine as well. The food at times makes or breaks the pairing. However, if I have to think of inculcating wine culture with daily meals, the idea stood well.

Vintner is making
Post lunch, we were taken for a tour of the winery to see what goes behind making the little joys of bubble in our wine glasses. The facility was very clean & organized and looked hygienic. It all starts with sorting the berries (grapes), de-steaming, crushing them with ice (all ensuring right amount of acidity, aeration to bring more depth, better after taste), all with utmost care and under highly temperature controlled process. We then moved to storage cellar, besotting ourselves with an opportunity to taste the semi fermented and semi matured wines right from the huge steel fermentation silos. Next move was barrel fermentation, showcasing a variety of French oak wine cask and tasting wines straight from the classic barrels from different levels of firmness. The cellar was bright, clean and well lit with non greasy flooring  It was like we just stepped into a whole together different world with barrels reminiscing old oak trees and leading us to land & era bygone. 

The wine tasting sojourn didn't end there and we were taken to their lab for a detailed tasting and discussion on some of the yet to released wines from their soon to be flagship brand- Ritu. Ritu, is the Hindi Sanskrit version of seasons. Now if you wonder if "four seasons" is the brand, why not "char ritu" or "chouritu"? Well you answered yourself and let's move on to the beautiful sunset that we get to see from the eloquent hills of the vineyard. It's a must see when you visit there. (pics).

Post the sunset view, the GM graciously took us to a ride midst the hill to showcase the place and throw more insights on the overall vineyard culture around. 

About the Facility
During the course of the day, Abhay with his team took us around the facility showcasing the floors and discussing their plans to further develop and inculcate the wine tourism. They plan to create a lounge with facility for gaming etc. I suggested them to incorporate a glass ceiling (if possible) so that people can sit on lounge, sip their wines, all under the starlit sky.

The vineyard has 10+10 rooms, a large dining hall and beautiful pool side open first floor terrace. The team was very hospitable and helpful.

A starlit pool side dinner
Post our return from the hills, we rushed into our respective rooms (done in an eloquent taste) to refresh and get ready for a promising dinner nearby the pool with live cooking counters, barbecue and off course star of the show- wines. 

The ambiance was great. We started with an elaborate platter of antipasti and wines. The food could be better. Never mind, The Company kept us alive and wines esp the blush was the best bet of the evening. 

We soon retired to our rooms and woke up to a lovely Baramati morning. If you are an early riser, nothing beats watching the sun rise from wide open mountains, a little luxury from the cluttered concrete jungle lifestyle of urban India. The breakfast as per public demand was again typical to Maharastrian cuisine (with little continental relief) and Chef Limaye played a good host. Some of us even tried a bubbly breakfast and I was happy to see Sabudana khichdi on my plate.

We soon left for a quick touring of packaging process which was a delight to watch with level of precision at each stage (the line assembly esp) and confirmed our beliefs that the wine that we drinking is taken so much care of. It also wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that sooner Indian wines will rub shoulders to their counterparts across the globe. Who knows if Four seasons would become a forerunner to such an evolution. Cheers to the spirit of wines, spirit of grapes, the farmers who work sweat raising such bountiful products and the wonderful hospitality of each & everybody at vineyard. We soon embarked back to Pune, taking with us fond memories of the place, the nectar of grapes and great hospitality. 

One regret is that I missed seeing the vines laden with grapes and an opportunity to hand pluck them. I hope the vineyard go live soon for travelers so that I can return and spend more time there. One day was not sufficient esp when we talk about wines which are best to sip slowly on and on. Once opened, it would serve as a perfect weekend gateway for people looking for solitary space, people looking for select socialized gatherings and people looking for hosting exclusive gatherings. 
Thank You Four Seasons, for having us on board. Look forward to more delectable wines from your stable.

My verdict: Highly recommended, Highly cherished!!

Go visit soon and yeah, don't forget to try a little wine when you try to fine dine or even pair with your traditional khar ka khana!(Home made food) 

A bottle of good wine, like a good act, shines ever in the retrospect. -Robert Louis Stevenson
_____________________________________________________
More about Four Seasons- Website & Facebook Page

Pictures: Self, Internet and Via co bloggers travelling along (mentioned above)

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

55 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Great! Do share ur experiences & pictures! cheers!

      Delete
  2. Seems you had great time there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup and wish I had stayed for more time...It was a pleasant trip and all my co bloggers were a fun to be with!

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  3. Great article you have shared here. It is pretty cool. I just came across to this blog and found such a great content and bookmarked it for future use for more interesting stuff. Merguez Sausage

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  4. Replies
    1. Yup...and sight seeing too along with getting to know the wine making process!

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  5. Beautiful pictures Ekta. Am marking it as a must see on my wanderlust agenda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. I am glad that you liked it and would love to hear back from you reg ur trip and much more!

      Delete
  6. Great pictures must mention, loved the food & wine photography...
    Ajeeth boaz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Ajeeth. Pleasure!

      Delete
  7. What a nice place.... Will love to visit it as soon as possible.......

    Debnature
    Kenfolios

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deb...It would be click worthy- every inch & corner. do visit and share ur experience!

      Delete
  8. Awesome...Four Seasons has been on top of Indian wine list and good to see they are reaching out too.
    Must have been fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!!! Yup there wines are good too! I started loving them and they became my top fav (in affordable range) since last 6-7 months.

      It was fun! BTW ur pamir shots r amazing...I was mesmerized with the pics!

      Delete
  9. Lovely place . I often go to Pune . Will visit soon

    Travel India

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a bliss! Am sure you had loads of fun, Ekta:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a good day! I liked being there. Wanted to stay some more time but time just flied.

      Delete
  11. Nice Pics..

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  12. Hey You visited the place too :) I had gone there with Abhay who is my brother-in-law and my sister. It is definitely a lovely place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, cool! I read your post. Yup its a lovely place indeed. BTW, I have made a ppt for Abhay and was looking for his mail id/ no. besides, he was facing some network issues there and wanted help.

      Can you mail me his email id pl?

      BTW, thanks for being here! Adore!

      Delete
  13. Nice to read your post , Beautiful photos. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my post, Rupam!

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  14. I've been dying to visit a vineyard in India. I've got friends in Switzerland who own vineyards, but for some reason I've been really intrigued by the Indian brands. Great article and pretty pictures. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, may be we can exchange details and visit them :)

      Take care and glad to have you here. take care.

      Delete
  15. WOW! That is an amazing post.. You are lucky :) I have tried the wine at an event launched by Four Seasons in Kolkata. Amazing :)

    love
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    1. Thanks soo much Megha! I am glad that you liked it...stay connected n take care :)

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  16. Lovely place and nice post Ekta! So desperate to visit this place.... :)

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    1. Thanks Priti! DO visit and share your feedback! :)

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  25. Thanks to you will make this trip in my next visit to Pune.

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