Wine tourism picks up in Nashik towards end of the year


Yatin Patil, a member of the AIWPA managing committee, said that the curfews and restrictions have worked in favour of promoting tourism.

Wine tourism is finally picking up in Nashik, the country’s wine capital, after more than six months of closure caused by lockdowns and restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

In the past two-and-a-half months, Nashik has seen nearly 75,000 wine tourists, the All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) said. Sula Vineyards, which enjoys a 60% market share in the wine sector and is the biggest brand, made up for around 75% of the total tourist arrivals in the district.

The Christmas and New Year’s season this year has seen a rise in the number of tourists and an increase in daily footfall by more than three times since October. Yatin Patil, a member of the AIWPA managing committee, said that the curfews and restrictions have worked in favour of promoting tourism.

“The wine sector lost more than six months of business. But once the government allowed resorts to be opened in October, the footfall has increased,” he said. “The daily footfall in October this year was around 400 per day on average, which has gone up to 1,300 per day from the start of December till date. All the resorts in Nashik have been booked till January-end for the weekends,” he said.

Monit Dhavale, senior vice president, Hospitality Business, Sula Vineyards, said that occupancy has been 95% at the 51-room resort at the Sula property and another 10-room property. “The tourists are mostly from Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Indore, all of which are four-hour drives from here. And since the property is open with more than 35 acres of vineyards, tourists find it easy to maintain social distancing, he said.

“Also, tourists who normally visited foreign locales at this time of the year have not been able to do so, and therefore chose to be here. Earlier, visitor stays would be for around two days, but now they have gone up to four to 10 days with visitors taking advantage of the work from home concept,” Dhavale said. On New Year’s Eve, Sula had at least 1,200 visitors, he said.

Jagdish Holkar, president, AIWPA, said the footfall have been in the range of 400-450 on a daily basis since October. There is a rush, but the wineries are taking all measures to ensure that the social distancing norms are followed, he said.

Manoj Jagtap, who runs a wine accessories business and arranges winery visits, said nearly 17,000 tourists have visited Sula Vineyards in the last 10 days. The smaller wineries have seen more than 3,000 visitors in the same period, he said. “Online schooling has worked to the advantage of parents who are now free to bring their children along. Parents are more than happy visiting the wineries on weekdays as well,” he said.

People have been cooped up at home for almost the entire year and therefore are keen on getting out, he said. Jagtap has had nearly four to five bookings on a daily basis for winery visits since Diwali.

Sula has a wine tasting room, villas and a resort, while neighbouring York Wines too has a tasting room and a resort. Other wineries with tasting rooms include Grover Zampa and Soma. Wineries like Vallonnie, Renaissance and Good Drops also draw tourists in large numbers. The wineries are hoping to do better business in January when the crushing season begins.

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