Grover Zampa Vineyards is about 40 minutes north of us toward the Nandi Hills. The drive there is lovely, as the city falls away and you gradually find yourself surrounded by the farms and greenery that our neighborhood used to be. And of course being at a winery gives us one less thing to miss from Oregon.
We’ve gone twice in the last couple months and look forward to going again soon. The first time was when we had a happy visit from our brother-in-law Michael. The three of us started the day with breakfast at the Mavalli Tiffin Room (yum!) and a stroll through Lalbagh Botanical Garden before heading out for a lovely afternoon. We arrived a little late for lunch, but were still so full from breakfast that we didn’t mind. Our 15-member tour group was first told about the history of the winery. Launched in 1988, it was the first winery in India – this is an incredibly new industry here – and the current winemaker is the granddaughter of the founder. We then walked through the entire process of winemaking, from the crush pad to fermentation tanks to bottling and labeling. Our guide, Vipin, is so knowledgeable. We’ve been on many similar tours, but still learned some new things. The tour ended in the cellar where Vipin first told us about the 27 wines they make from the 6 different grapes that they grow. As a new industry, the stores that sell wine don’t know much about it and don’t keep it in optimal conditions (e.g. Not Just Wine and Cheese near us keeps their wine on the upper floor with no air conditioning and many of the bottles standing upright). We were pleased to taste properly stored wine. It’s really good! Sadly, on that visit in October, we were told that a couple of their high end wines wouldn’t be released until November so we’ve have to return. Darn!
When we returned, we went with a big group of Tom’s colleagues. Ten of us headed out for the 10:30 am tour and tasting, followed by lunch. On this visit, the winery was very active and the machinery noise frequently drowned out Vipin’s explanations of things. Added to this, our tour group had 25 people, so it was difficult to see and hear everything. No matter! The tasting was still very enjoyable. And the lunch to follow (vegetable biryani with raita and gulab juman for dessert) was tasty. Unfortunately, the wines we were interested in have been delayed so we’ll have to go again next month. Looks like we’re going to be Grover regulars 🙂