Wine, Dine & Music

February 17, 2014 Wine, Dine & Music @TheRoyaleIndia 726 0 0

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Seven years back, when I was still finishing my Hotel Management degree, Sula had come down to give us a wine tasting session, speak to us about wines and give us a brief on the career prospects. Within the next few days, my batch mates ended up organizing a field trip to the Sula Vineyards. With the prospect of getting free alco….um, wine tasting, a lot of us signed up for it. When we reached there, we were shown around the beautiful landscape, were taken to the tasting deck (yay), were shown the Sula bungalow ‘Beyond’ (you should definitely stay there once) and were taken to the half built amphitheater as it was still under construction. At that time, the gentleman who was giving us our tour told us that they had big plans to showcase the vineyard and the amphitheater. None of us could imagine that those big plans would roughly translate to one of the most popular fests in the country, seven years from then.

Out of the many amazing fests which have started in our country, Sula Fest is definitely worth a visit. You will be familiar with the name if you drink Sula wines or alcohol for that matter. Nestled in Nasik, this winery has become a popular weekend getaway destination.

Sula Fest @TheRoyaleIndia

The first day of the fest started with a grand Vero Moda fashion show. The first day for us started with the alarm going off and then hitting the snooze button. Going off and snoozing. Going off and snoozing. This happened at least 50 odd times. Finally, after jumping out of bed, hurriedly getting ready and realizing that ‘we are so soo late’ we reached the vineyard. Early. Such is life. We decided to not waste any time and embarked upon the wine tasting deck and drank….um, sipped the wines. By the time we had our fill, the crowd had thickened and the live performances had started. We went towards the amphitheatre and sat through an EDM performance, danced and shuffled our feet for Filter Coffee (which according to us was a blend of classical ragas and EDM), hooted/ cat called and clapped during Gypsy All Stars (by far THE BEST performance. This is an all male Spanish cover band for The Gypsy Kings with a Spanish lady dancing to the beats). Well we did have an option of not tipsy dancing as they had put up picnic umbrellas on the grass where we could sit, taking us back to our school picnic days but with thumping music and no milk shakes. After screaming ourselves hoarse and more shuffling of our feet in the name of dancing, we went towards the food counter. The fest had gone all out with the arrangements by having an impressive list of restaurants, participating. We could choose from Busago, Little Italy, Crepe Station, Maroosh. Not only for food, but there were a lot of alcohol booths to buy booze from (Wine. Is. Booze.There. I said it) and a lot of quirky stores to buy souvenirs. .

Another good thing done at the fest was the provision of the branded plastic sippers for our Sangrias and cocktails. With these little beverage containers, we were free to walk all over the place and not think about keeping the glass somewhere while we ourselves were high from all that wine. Thank god for the available campsite right behind the festival and advanced booking, we made our way towards our tent in the campsite which had a big bonfire right in the middle along with a make shift badminton court and a place for archery. They had also provided us with instruments and a mike for singing (as if I was gonna!). We also had an option to eat a second dinner (limited barbeque dinner) at the campsite as it was included in the rate. They had made nice arrangements for the drivers as well where they were getting eggs and bread and hot tea during that chilly night. We ditched the BBQ dinner and made our way to their canteen to gorge on anda-pav.

After having our fill, embarrassing ourselves with our singing and our heads pleasantly buzzing, we crashed in (not ‘on’) our tent and woke up the next day to a breakfast of baked beans and sausages (yum).

The second and the last day was again spent in the tasting room (hey, the entry was free). We ended up seeing a lot of TV personalities slowly getting happy high. We saw the owner of Busago, Nikhil Chib, living it up at the Busago counter and helping the fest visitors. The second day was dedicated to tarot card reading and foot massages. A while later we saw the Three Cheese Band performing and I have to say this, they are pretty good. But the best performance of the day had to be Vasudha Sharma’s of Asma band. Post the performances, we attended a grape stomping (what? You have always wanted to do this but have never done? Head over to the fest next year or keep a look out for Sula events all over the country) session, bought souvenirs, booze (a.k.a. wine), sat in the car and made our way back to Bombay.

Yes, for those of who missed this 2-day festival, make sure to keep your diary blocked for it as soon as the dates come out next year. I have already kept all my weekends (this festival always takes place on a Saturday- Sunday) from mid January 2015 till end February 2015, completely booked so nothing can come in between me and wine. I will postpone my own wedding if I have to but let us hope it does not come to that for you or for me. See you next year in Nasik!

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