Many of the Five Oceans Club events that we’ve attended have had a cultural focus (Melissa has toured a downtown slum and the temples of Malleshwaram, and attended workshops on the cultures and traditions of India and the history that has made it the way it is), but they also host fabulous social events like the one we attended this weekend. Soma Vineyards opened its doors to about 40 Five Oceans members for the Sunset to Moonrise Soiree and it was absolutely lovely from start to finish.
Our hosts, in addition to Five Oceans’s wonderful cofounders Kaveri and Neha, were the co-owners of Soma, a couple of entertaining characters. Darby talked wine with us, imparting such wisdom as the notion that whiskey, rum, and vodka are for drowning sorrows, but wine is for celebration. His passion for what he does was evident in everything he did. Paul Topping is British by family, African by birth and upbringing, and Sri Lankan by dint of living there for 20 years. In between, he spent a good amount of time in India where he hooked up with Darby to start Soma. He was there primarily for the launch of his brand new book, The Whinging Pome, a collection of his whimsical essays about his life of travels. One rule of travel we might just have to adopt: never walk by an Irish Pub; always go in.
Soma Vineyards is just over an hour from our home in the north of Bangalore, but it feels like another world. The last bit of the drive was over bumpy dirt roads, past rows of grape-filled vines, finally leaving us at the top of a hill with a gorgeous view, completely unobstructed by development of any kind. The vineyards are nearly pesticide free because their position at the top of a hill overlooking a lake would mean that pesticides would kill the fish upon which the local villagers depend.
Good relationships are important, so they are very conscious of how they care for their crops. For now, we enjoy their grapes in the wines of Grover Winery, including Grover La Reserve, one of our favorites. Soon though, Grover will be looking elsewhere for grapes and Soma will be bottling their own wines.
We toured the vineyard and learned about the terroir before stopping at a beautiful spot
near a natural, uncholorinated pool used for both swimming and irrigation. There we had some nice chips and cheeses paired with a sauvignon blanc. Then to the Sunset deck where we watched the sun go down while sipping rosé paired with papdi chaat, samosa chaat, and spicy vegetable dumplings. As it started to get dark, we all moved to the Moon deck, illuminated by tinkly lights, where we had dinner paired with Shiraz, while being serenaded by some talented teenagers.
It was a perfect evening that we hope to recreate in the future with local or visiting friends and family.