A Day in Pataleban: First Nepali Vineyard & Winery
Posted On November 20, 2015
Exploring the peace and tranquility of the Pataleban Vineyard Resort along with the state of art crafted Nepalese Wines from Pataleban Vineyard Winery.
A Nepali citizen staying in Nepal hardly thinks of exploring the beauty of a vineyard and sipping freshly made wines. It was not even in imagination few years ago until Mr. Kumar Karki started Pataleban Vineyard Resort. This former unused land just attached to the jungle has been transformed into a modern winery with seventeen varieties of grape vines grown on its slopes.
When I got an invitation for Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour from Pataleban, I was more than excited. I was feeling proud by the feel of having a vineyard in our own country, a real vineyard and real wines from those grapes. Pataleban Vineyard Resort is the first project of its kind in Nepal which combines the concept of resort with vineyard and winery. The resort has a vineyard in the frontal area, which enhances its appeal. The distinct image of being a winery resort is gaining good popularity among international as well as domestic tourists. The resort is surrounded by a community forest known as “Pataleban” and provides a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan Range in front and Dhading Valley below. The amazing view of sunset in the evening compliments the aura of serenity in this place. The Vineyard lies 16km. west of Kathmandu city at an altitude of 1600m above sea level covering an area of 2 hector facing North West.
2007 was the year when Mr. Karki finally started this vineyard after researching a lot. He was in Japan prior to this and he communicated with few winemakers there and brought the Japanese Grape Variety “Koshu” to start with. He then brought some French Grape Varieties as well. The first phase of planting grapes included only 80 vines. And now it has extended its grape farming in Kaule and Kewalpur as well. Kaule’s vineyard has already started producing class wines.
My journey to Pataleban began from my office via by lane from Kalanki (I didn’t opt to travel through highway, instead chose a by lane which directly made me reach Nagdhunga). The both sides of the road have very few houses and empty lands which is a rare thing to witness in Kathmandu these days. The road gets connected to the highway at Nagdhunga from where it’s just few minutes drive to Pataleban. I was welcomed by Sahishnu and Ram Ji, very humble people I met, they gave me the real feel of hospitality. I was then introduced to Ms. Marlise Chanton-Bichsel, Marketing and Public Relation Expert from Swiss Contact. She is right now working as a consultant for the management resort and marketing of wines and vineyard tours. Marlis has very long winery experience, she got married to a winemaker years ago which made her jump into this sector. Her husband also is assisting Mr. Karki as a wine consultant. Mr. Karki, with the help of these people have started producing very fine wines in comparison to previous years.
Ms. Chanton explained me all the difficulties Mr. Karki and they had face at the beginning of the vineyard and wine making. It is still difficult to get all the necessary equipments here in the country. Mr. Karki is still importing every small piece from Germany, France and Switzerland.
I met Mr. Karki who reached the venue little late due to the hassles of traffic in the valley. In the meantime Ms. Chanton had already made me tour the vineyard. I was extremely delighted to see many International Grape Varieties growing in your own country along with many Japanese varieties.
The wine session was supposed to start at 6. I had not even checked in the room till 5. I was so busy chatting with Ms. Chanton and Mr. Karki about the wines and the vineyard, I didn’t even notice I had to get ready for the ssession. I rushed to my room. They have simple yet elegant rooms with all the facilities needed. The most interesting part of being in Pataleban’s rooms is the view of Jungle and the vineyard infront of you. You feel like your nose will struck the jungle as you step out of your room to the balcony. I quickly freshened up and then we gathered in their conference hall for the wine tasting session.
The smart servers brought this year’s and last year’s wines, three varieties each, red, white and rosé.
They are producing very less wines till now just for the consumption there in the resort. They are planning for the commercial marketing and sales from the next year onwards.
The white has more of Chardonnay mixed with few other white grape varieties whereas rosé is made out of Pinot Noir and Fujimi Nori grapes. The red is created from Khainori which is a hybrid variety crafted from Pinot Noir and Khaiji Grapes.
This was the second time for me where I was tasting the wines from Pataleban Winery. Earlier to this, two years back somebody gifted me a bottle each of white and red from the same vineyard. I found a lot of improvements in the making process and fining of wines this time. Now I can proudly say my country also produces international class wines. All the wines I tasted were crafted with elegance and are ready to be shipped to different countries. Now Nepalese don’t have to gulp those cheap quality wines in good bottles. They can have their own wines, that also of a very good quality.
Being a wine enthusiast, what more could I ask for. I was overwhelmed with the taste and the quality. They are perfectly created and carry the real characteristics of the grapes from which they are crafted.
I salute Mr. Karki for making us proud, for giving us our own wines.