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Indian travellers exploring global wine culture

The Indian traveller is evolving and constantly looking for novel experiences. Experiential tourism is a major pull nowadays and out of the many experiences, Indian travellers now have a keen desire to indulge in wine and thereby are exploring vineyards around the world. Industry experts talk about trends, lists wine tourism destinations that are in demand and prices of wine tours.

Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of Expedia in India says, "As the trend is catching up, even Indian vineyards are upgrading their technology significantly and are collaborating with experts to produce more and better wines. A spinoff is the growth of wine tourism, concentrated in a handful of wineries in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. The wine travel market in India is growing at 42 per cent annually, as wine tours pick up.

 "Karan Anand, Head - Relationships, Cox & Kings says, "France holds the distinction of being the wine capital of the world. Indian travellers go there to experience wines that are produced in different regions such as Burgundy and Bordeaux. Our Forever France package of nine days and eight nights cost Rs 1,07,000/- (without airfare)." Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy and was once at the bottom of a tropical sea, and the rich soil it left is the secret behind the flavour of Burgundy wines.
Neelu Singh, CEO & director, Ezeego1 says, "Wine tasting tours have for long been a niche segment, enjoyed by a select group of elite travellers from India. International Wine tours on its own is in a very nascent stage in India, but travellers do prefer to add a day tour to their itinerary to visit vineyards, learn about wine making techniques, enjoy grape stomping, and taste different types of wines."
Among international wine tours, Rioja, Spain is a favourite. Located in north-central Spain -along the Ebro River, Rioja boasts 600-plus wineries spread across the subzones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. One can meet the wine makers and enjoy the refreshing environment and wine collections dating back to the late 1800s!

With more than 400 wineries scattered throughout the region, Napa Valley, among the most visited, allows travellers to experience the gamut from boutique wineries to prominent brand name. The days in the valley are filled with activities, relaxing walks, wine tasting and enjoying the local cuisine. recommends staying in Milliken Creek Inn. It is a luxury, adult only hotel in Napa Valley, situated within a 15 minute drive from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Renteria Wines and Rocca Family Vineyards. A complementary wine and cheese reception is available daily at the hotel's main house.

South Australia boasts of over 50 percent of the wines produced in the country. It has now moved to other states such as New South Wales, Tasmania and the state of Queensland. "There is a growing demand for wine tours from India to Australia. Though not too much at the moment, we believe that this will pick up as Australian wines get popular amongst the Indians," says Anand of Cox & Kings.

The picturesque town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, in the Rhine Valley, Germany is a popular winemaking destination and home to the Rheingau Wine Museum, with a collection of exhibits from the ancient times. suggests a stay at Breuer's Rudesheimer Schloss which is located within an 18thcentury building in Rüdesheim.

If you want to go local, there is no better choice than Nashik. Nashik is one of the earliest winery in India to promote wine tourism at a large scale. Known for its wide variety of grapes, there are over 25 wineries who are introducing new and customised itineraries to attract different travellers towards this form of tourism. "Major wineries in Nashik have been organising wine festivals where people come to enjoy a mix of music, wine, food and fashion. Sula Vineyards, Mountain View Winery, Grover Zampa Vineyards are some of the popular wineries in Nashik," says Neelu Singh of