A cowherd watches an egret as it glides around like a paper plane before settling down near him. His buffaloes, the egret’s brethren, and a few Black Ibis languidly forage on their daily turf, unmindful of the chitter chatter of smaller birds that excitedly welcome the day.
From the balcony of my room at Vallonne Vineyards in Nashik, I wish I could watch this scene unfold every day.
Even though the vines are shriveled up at the moment, being off season for grape production, they’re set against a backdrop that is fascinating at any time of the year – the Sahyadri mountain range and waters of Mukhne Dam’s reservoir. If you’re visiting Mumbai, you could make the 3-4 hour trip to this vineyard to experience a lifestyle very different from the fast paced one that Mumbai is known for. When I visited, a British lady who writes for wine magazines was doing a round of vineyards in Nashik.
You can do just a wine tasting session, have lunch at at onsite Malaka Spice Restaurant, or stay at Vallonne
While there are trains to Igatpuri, the closest railhead to Vallonne, the best way to travel is by car, also since you can visit sightseeing spots in and around Nashik too like Pandavleni Caves, Kalaram Temple, Trimbakeshwar/Tryambakeshwar Temple, and the Godavari river, on the banks of which the Kumbh Mela is held. For families with children, I would also advise a visit to Gargoti, a mineral museum that has an enviable collection of crystals, and the Regiment of Artillery Museum.
You can read my story on Vallonne Vineyards in the November, 2016 issue of Lonely Planet Magazine India before it goes off the shelves. I’m reproducing part of the article here in pictures (pdf file, if available, will be put up later) – sorry about the bother, but you’ll have to zoom in to read it.
Here are some links for things to do or see in Nashik –
Lonely Planet suggestions – click here
Tripadvisor’s Top 10 things – click here
Holidify’s list – click here