Archive for August, 2011

Nine Hills – Pregnant with Greenery and Life

August 29, 2011 2 comments

No sooner had we talked about rains and our vineyards in our last issue, we were filled with an in-suppressible desire to see what spell the rains had cast on our hills. Such was the longing that, unable to resist any further, we set off on a weekday, braving and battling traffic and the much TOIed potholes of Mumbai…..

Once out of the city reaches, the country-side opened into vast expanses of green, crisp fresh air, herds of cattle grazing peacefully, little children playing with sticks, grown-ups busy in their everyday pastoral chores. And the verdant hills in the background, breaking into myriad waterfalls at every contour.

Racing away towards Nine Hills, we sub-consciously unclenched ourselves from the strong grips of urban-belonging and instead, immersed ourselves in the simple, virgin beauty of idyllic longing. From inside our car, we were convinced that the farmers outside are the most contented – after all, their toil in their lands give them a good-night’s sleep every day. We, on the other hand, find sleep so elusive, despite softer beds and air-conditioned rooms. We simply observe and envy their unpretentious lives – oblivious (purposely?) to their daily hardships.

So ruminating, we realised that we had reached our destination – the one we had set out for. For by now we had sighted rows and rows of lush green vines, all made even more beautiful by the monsoons. Pregnant clouds hovered over us, promising us a good spell again. But even before the customary ‘chai’ (Yes, the guys there like to warm you up with a steaming cuppa first and then offer you a glass of their wines!!), we quickly pulled out the camera in order to not lose the sight to the impending rains.

Sharing those beautiful, heart-warming pictures. And no, am providing no captions for them — you decide what you feel.

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Nine Hills Vineyard Cycle

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Rains in Mumbai can make you feel that, “God has opened the water tap and forgotten to close it…..” With hardly any sun for almost three whole months (June, July and August), one then wonders how are the vines faring in the Nashik Hills. This fear was immediately put to rest by our experts at the vineyards who said that regular monsoon has no adverse impact on viticulture. Instead, the water is absolutely necessary for a good growth. What really troubles the viticulturists is lack of rainfall or erratic rains due to shift in climatic patterns, but we will talk about global warming and its fallout on grape-growing in a later issue…..

In this issue, let’s peek over the fence of the Nine Hills vineyards and find out what do the farm hands do all year round to get the best grapes for the wines…

Come September and in the third week, it will be time for the vines to shed their ‘excess baggage’ and go in for a good ‘trim’, nay prune. In a matter of just 7-8 days, green shoots start appearing on the stems so pruned. In viticulture parlance, this is called ‘Sprouting’, as seen in the picture…

By the 3rd-4th week of October, the vines start flowering heralding the coming of berries by the first week of November.

These grow over the next few weeks and by end December, the berries start ripening. Berry ripening starts with color break (in color grapes varieties) and softening of berries. As it grows further sugar starts accumulating in berries and acid starts degrading. This stage of initiation of ripening is termed as Veraison.

Finally, by end January, the grapes have ripened enough and are ‘mature’ enough to be plucked. Feb-March is the time when the grapes are plucked, stomped and handed over to the winery for the final journey.

Thus concludes the growth-cycle. Cheers.

The Only Olive – A Slice of Goan Life

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

What is this life if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare?


Caught in the rat race to earn our daily bread, our days and nights go by without even a small moment of respite. When was the last time you watched a bee suck honey from the flower in your garden? Better still, when was the last time you did some gardening yourself, dirtying your hands in the soil and watering the plants instead of delegating it all to your ‘Mali’? Chances are that you will reply, “Can’t remember…”

The bees and the flowers, gardens, butterflies, river, fishes, sea beaches are all a way of life in The Only Olive, Goa. This is a charming hundred year old Portuguese-style villa that gets its name from the olive tree in the garden rumoured to be hundred years old itself. Situated on a hillock with lovely views of the surrounding village, it is set in canvassed gardens filled with an abundance of sweet scented frangipani and Indian jasmine, interspersed with bamboo, mango, jackfruit, breadfruit, drumstick, cashew trees and of course – the olive tree. For those who love life and nature – it is the perfect place to relax in hammocks and rejuvenate – making the home stay seem like a slice of Portuguese life in Goa.

Guests are encouraged to walk around the picturesque village, go fishing on the river with the village children, enjoy an alfresco bath with water drawn from the well, help water the garden, visit the neighbours who make and sell the best Goa sausages, visit the local village bar for some locally brewed feni, fire up the BBQ and cook your catch, enjoy a beer or a bottle of wine on the patio or relax in a hammock and count the stars… and experience life the way it’s supposed to be …SIMPLY.. The real Goan way.

Experience all this and more by simple winning the Nine Hills Slogan contest.


Find out more about The Only Olive from its website —

Join The Only Olive on Facebook — .

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