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In just over ten years, India went from having almost no wineries to leading Asia's viticultural vanguard. Today, most of its vintners are concentrated around the city of Nashik, about 110 miles northeast of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, an area long known as the source of sweet and juicy table grapes. The first plantings of wine grapes in Nashik yielded an initial production of 50,000 bottles for groundbreaker Sula Vineyards in 2000, which expanded to an annual production of 3 million bottles for Sula in 2010. That success inspired another 50 wineries to set up shop in the region, including award-winning York Winery, and even led former table-grape growers like ND Vineyards to start making wine.
The expanding industry has brought a new generation of tourists to sample sights beyond Nashik's amalgam of ancient temples and modern malls, including Sula Vineyards's own organic café (which draws ingredients from a kitchen garden) and its 20 stylish guest rooms with private balconies overlooking the pool (pictured). While Nashik is turning out a few decent reds from cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, the real appeal is its whites, especially sauvignon blanc, leading some to compare this area with another up-and-comer from a generation ago: the Marlborough region of New Zealand.