Last weekend, Mumbai’s food, wine and party lovers packed their bags and made the three hour drive to Nashik for the 10th edition of Sula Vineyards’ iconic Sula Fest. Started in 2008, the Sula Fest brings together world famous musicians and performers as well as a vast collection of food stalls, fashion pop ups and – of course – wines, liquors, beers and spirits.
This year the festival had cold pressed juice company, Raw Pressery as its title sponsor, which made its presence felt throughout the festival. The festival was spread across a vast area and boasted three stages; the Amphi Stage, the Atmasphere Stage and the Tropical stage all of which played host to renowned names like Indian Ocean, The Raghu Dixit Project and Nucleya.
A Sweet Scene
Early on Saturday morning, we made the drive over to Sula to take in the music, revelry and – naturally – lots and lots of food and drink ourselves. As soon as we stepped in to the festival grounds, we were greeted by two Hersheys representatives bearing samples of the brand’s new Brookside chocolates.
Encouraged to sample them, we tried the Raspberry chocolates; made with rich chocolate coating a raspberry center. These little sweet treats were, in our opinion, the perfect way to kick off the festival and foreshadowed the fun and deliciousness that was to come.
After gorging on a few more chocolates, we wandered up the road to the vineyard. We’ve visited Sula Vineyards a few times before, but the Fest had rendered them completely unrecognisable. The road leading up to the Vineyards’ tasting room had been decked with stalls selling intriguing clothes, jewellery and even home decorations made with recycled wine bottles.
Left off this road was another stream off stalls dishing out delicious fare, beyond which was the Fest’s Atmasphere Stage. If you chose to turn right, you were greeted with even more food stalls and a quirky seating area featuring recycled tire stools and wooden benches. Beyond this was the Fest’s Amphi Stage which – in the late afternoon – was playing host to The Ska Vengers which were propelling their audience into a dancing frenzy.
Meanwhile, another section behind the food stalls was the alcohol section; a Jack Daniel’s stall jostled for space with SKYY Vodka while, in another corner, a mixologist whipped up cocktails featuring Cointreau. Beer lovers gravitated towards a Budweiser stall while wine lovers crowded the Sula wines stalls for glasses of Brut, Sula’s new Seco Rosé and the ValenSeco, a combination of Sula’s Seco Rose and Raw Pressery’s Valencia Orange.
At each stage, Raw Pressery had set up a stall featuring a different RAW drinks. Since it began in 2013, Raw Pressery has been producing juices using cold pressing techniques with no added sugar, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
The Raw Pressery stalls at Sula were each designed around a different RAW juice; while the stall next to the Tropical Stage carried forward the tropical theme with a stall centred around oranges and the Valencia orange juice, the stall near the Atmasphere stage was dishing out sugar cane juice. This stall was set up using sugar cane stalks and featured a working sugarcane juice presser to give it a more authentic vibe.
Meanwhile, there was another stall near the Amphi Stage which featured Raw Pressery’s newly launched Coconut Juice. The stall itself captured the tropical, coconut theme with sand strewed on the floor of the stall and a boat decorated with coconuts.
Of course, along with the featured drink, each Raw Pressery stall was dishing out its range of drinks. After enjoying the coconut, sugarcane and Valencia orange juices (all of which were incredibly refreshing – but our favourite was the sweet, ginger tinged sugarcane juice) we sampled some of Raw Pressery’s other juice blends. We loved the ‘Shield’ which is a rich, hearty drink which combines Tangerine, Carrot and Ginger and Life, a thick , slushie-like drink with a strong berry flavour.
As we sipped our drinks, we watched as the Raw stalls served droves of festival attendees; the Raw crew manning the stalls told us that they’re busiest in the mornings (when attendees load up on healthy juices to counter the alcohol they later plan to drink) and in the late night, when the attendees are looking at restorative drinks which will see them home safely and ward off the hangovers the next morning.
The RawCycle Initiative
Considering the amount of people buying the juices, which are packaged in 250 ml plastic bottles, Raw Pressery anticipated that there would be a lot of bottle waste generated. We had already seen its commitment towards recycling at its stalls; they were all decorated using old Raw bottles, but at the Sula Fest we were introduced to a larger commitment towards recycling.
Khaim, a part of the Raw team took us through the RawCycle initiative; the company had set up large disposal centres through the festival which asked attendees to drop their plastic bottles into them. These raw bottles will be processed into cloth, which will then be used to make uniforms for underprivileged children in India.
Every year, SulaFest foes out to benefit locally based and national NGOs and non-profits. This year, Raw Pressery also played its part. Whether you were at SulaFest this year or buy the occasional bottle of Raw Pressery juice, we’re sure that this knowledge made your time that much merrier and your drink that much sweeter.