Fratelli Vineyards in Motewadi, Maharashtra is an ideal getaway if you and your partner love wine and all things fine, says Abhinav Sahni.
Romance has a close relationship with inebriation. Perhaps the intoxication helps us in overcoming our inhibitions and our own constraints that we so often live in the shadow of. I often recall this line from one of Tagore’s poem “drunk with the wine of her youth.” The line beautifully captures the beauty of a woman. It captures her awareness of her body and her power to arouse any man with her sensuality. But in order to make the reader understand or perhaps achieve this state of mind, the poet uses the word wine. Yes, wine, a drink of the gods. Wine has since time immemorial been the classiest, most tasteful and perhaps the most tantalizing instrument to romanticize anything.
Wine has forever captured my imagination when it comes to anything out of fantasyland. A dream date, a romantic dinner, a European style picnic with one’s lover in the bright sun all seem incomplete without that enchanting bottle of wine. The picturesque glasses filled with the luscious syrup of joy all seem to be taken right out of the catalogue of the happy, the rich and the classy. It is wonderful to see how this science, this art of wine making, is used to draw such an inspirational masterpiece on our taste palettes. I often sit and reminisce about my journey to the Fratelli vineyard and Resort. And they say I can often be seen smiling. Come with me on this romantic journey where I uncorked not only love but an age old tradition, a plethora of knowledge, a history of this magnificent drink. When I think about a vineyard, i expect to see lots of greenery, bunches of grapes and Mother Nature in all her fertility. But the outskirts of the Fratelli Vineyard and Resort is completely the opposite. The land seems barren and dry, the air smells of dust and hardship. I wonder what must have gone through the minds of the people who first arrived here to set up the vineyard. The mountainous terrain is discouraging to say the least. Yet when one sees the magnificence of the vineyard, the magnitude of effort involved, the sheer grandeur of the contrasting landscape, one cannot help but appreciate the vision the founders of Fratelli must have possessed
The name Fratelli literally translates to brotherhood. The winery owned and managed by a group of passionate and visionary brothers- -- the Secci brothers, Andrea and Alessio from Italy, along with Sekhri brothers Kapil and Gaurav and the Mohite-Patil brothers, Ranjitsinh and Arjunsinh. We had the honour of meeting Mr. Alessio Secci, who despite living in Italy is available every month for two to three weeks. Now that’s passion. The remaining of the time he is busy attending various international event promoting the product. Our conversation, which lasted for more than two hours ranged from the nitty-gritty complexities of the wine business to the more philosophical and philanthropic aspects of life. It was nice to see how Fratelli, as an organization, was living up to its name. The company arranges medical camps twice every year for its employees. The winery is a state of the art machine but with a heart of gold.
The winemaking process is a meticulous and time consuming one, but one thing is for certain, your output will depend heavily on your input. At Fratelli, the main emphasis is on the quality rather than the quality. Whether it is the control of farms, keeping contract farming out of the picture, to the precision picking of the grapes, which involves educating the employees of the vineyard, Fratelli lays emphasis on quality. Perhaps this is why Fratelli seems to have a heart. It seems to have a human characteristic rather than a cold corporate outlook.
The resort itself is something out of the ordinary. The spiral staircase prepares you for an extraordinary experience. The resort, which comprises of a cozy living area, an open kitchen and colour themed rooms is taken to another level by the sheer warmth and hospitality of the staff members. Perhaps the Fratelli runs in their blood. But what we loved most were the glass walls which gave the resort a queer yet enticing character. The resort itself was built for the owners due to their frequent travel and stop over. But on popular demand it has been opened for the general public. The rooms are comfortable, minimalistic and functional. However, the fact that you don’t get room keys makes it a very different experience. The staff insist for you to relax and forget about locks and keys.
And honestly, as soon as you sip the beautiful wines on offer by Fratelli, you’ll forget about locks and keys too. We were welcomed by a beautiful bottle of Gran Cuvee Brut. The sparkling wine was perfect to quench one’s thirst in the beautifully warm weather of Maharashtra. Another wine which caught our attention was the Sangiovese Bianco. A white wine made with grapes used for making red wine otherwise, this wine is deliciously pleasant and goes perfectly with grilled chicken. This is one wine which I personally could not have enough of. On the premium end, there is Sette, meaning seven. Representing an aspiration of the seven owners of Fratelli, the wine is made from the top percentage of Grapes at the vineyard.
At the end, my advice to you is this -- if you are someone who appreciates the finer things in life, who enjoys education and entertainment, and wish to have a majestic experience, then head to Fratelli before going to any other vineyard.
The Fratelli Vineyard is located approximately 170 kms from Pune, the nearest airport. The drive from the airport to the vineyard takes 3-4 hours. Mumbai is approximately 330 kms from the vineyard. The drive takes anywhere between 8 to 10 hours.
Best Time to Visit
January to March is an ideal time to visit if you want to be part of the harvest.
Things to Do
Other than tasting sessions and tours, the vineyard offers a variety of indoor games and RTV rides through the vineyard.