I turned one year older last weekend. Birthdays have lost its charm since I turned 25. Maybe it’s the mid-20s crisis (if there’s such a thing), but I so desperately did not want the birthday to come, I slept before midnight, only to be shaken, woken and made to cut the birthday cake. Thankfully, my fiancé is a lazy man as he is smart and he put only a single candle on the cake. Saved himself.
|My B'day gift|
He is also a good “gifter”; he knows I don’t like surprise gifts (learnt the hard way) and I’d rather tell what I want than let someone gift me anything hideous that fills my limited apartment space.
So this time when he asked what I wanted as a birthday gift, I quipped “The Grover Vineyard Tour!” without a moment’s hesitation. (I had been doing my gift-research, you see)
I had wanted to visit the Grover Vineyard since I heard of it. I read the reviews and checked the photos. A blogger said that the best season was from Oct-March, so then, since March is my birthday month, let the Grover Vineyard Tour be my birthday gift.
|Can't miss this|
So, I wrote to Grover Vineyard and they were very prompt in replying or assisting me with my dozen queries. We booked the cab and on my birthday morning, we left for the Vineyards at around 9:15am.
The Vineyards are situated at Doddabalapur and it took around 90mins to reach the place. The directions are fairly easy and if you can’t locate, the girl at Grover Vineyards will talk to your driver in Kannada and assist you. J
The tour starts at 10:30am and we reached 15-20 mins late; by that time, the group had already moved to the plantation. We went there straightaway. In my head, I imagined the ferocious sun beating on us, sweat dripping as we look across an arid land with few twines for vines. (I read a review which sounded depressing; I bet the blogger went in a really bad season).
For us, it was not bad at all. Vines grown in strict military-discipline fashion, rows and rows of them, greeted us. The grapes were very inviting; though we were told by our guide, Jay, to not pluck and eat as they get oxidized. He provided the tour group (a group of 20 it must have been) a brief history of Grover Vineyards which sounded familiar as I had gone through their website before! Then he showed us the Sauvignon grapes and the Shiraz grapes. After which, we were left to wander through the plantation and the tour group (mostly, a flutter of girls) started clicking photos of themselves twirling around the vines. That must have lasted a good 30minutes.
After the plantation tour, the guide took us to the processing unit.
Here, in the processing unit, photography was not allowed; but blimey, there’s no way a good photo would come out of huge stainless steel machines!
The guide explained how the grapes arrive (in crates… :/…how interesting!), are manually selected, de-stemmed, pressurized and crushed. He pointed out to various steel giants.
Then, we were taken to the fermentation room which gave out such a pungent smell of grapes that it reminded me of that time when I had left grapes in my fridge for a month (I had went on a holiday) and returned to find pungent fumes attack me. It was nauseous. But you get used to it in a minute or two. After talking a great deal of how the steel giants store the grapes for how long at what temperature, he took us to see the bottling of the wine bottles, and then he said “Please go downstairs to the sampling room”… and… I shook to life!
|If we could only drink from those!|
The sampling room was more of an aesthetically designed store room. It had tons of wooden barrels wherein wine was stored. Dates were marked on the outside of the barrels. How I wished I could carry one of those home!
We started off with Viogner, then Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz Rose, Cabernet Shiraz and lastly, La Reserve.
|Introducing Shiraz Rose, prettiest looking wine|
|The wine expert talks|
Don’t ask me which wine is what and what to pair what with. The guide bombarded us all these info but you can hardly expect me to concentrate on his talking when I was busy with my drinking. The guide was quick and the bottles were sampled (and emptied) quite swiftly. I have never tasted wine so quick and by the fourth glass, I was on the dumb-smile phase of happy drinking. I liked. I liked. This was the best part of the tour.
The second best being the vineyard plantation, and the third being the lunch.
|Lunching on the Lawn|
By 2pm, we were done with our part of the lazy lunch. Others were still enjoying themselves, but we decided to move on (I had a party to throw at home… and as a host, I couldn’t be late).
On the drive home, we both slept oh-so-nicely! Grover Wines sure knew how to make a good meal.
I am so happy we discovered this place. Even a non-wine drinker like my fiancé loved the tour. I guess instead of taking friends to lookalike Bangalore malls when they come to town, we should take them to these off-beat but upcoming places.
And yes, thank you Neel for the lovely birthday present.
(For more info, you can visit their website, http://grovervineyards.in/)