By Frank Britt
The Realization of a Dream
Imagine you and your spouse out for a romantic 30th anniversary dinner at the world-renowned Inn at Little Washington, contemplating your future years together. “Honey, what shall we do when we retire?” After a couple of decades living in the hustle and bustle of Fairfax County, the open, rolling spaces of Rappahannock County beckon. The husband harkens back to his youth, remembering the agrarian roots of his family back home. The wife recalls their world travels, reminiscing about the countries they’ve visited and the wines they’ve shared.
At this inspired moment, Pandit and Sudha Patil determined they would open a winery.
Narmada Winery is the realization of their dream. On 51 acres off Rt. 211 in Amissville, Pandit and Sudha planted vines, cautiously and judiciously. What began as two acres of Vidal has now grown to over 20 acres with ten different varietals, both hybrid and vinifera. In the 6 ½ years since the winery opened, Sudha’s skill at winemaking has garnered over 60 gold medals.
And the name of the winery? “Narmada was the name of my mother,” Pandit says with clear affection. “She sacrificed so much for me to come to the United States for my education. Without her, none of this would have been possible.” It seems Pandit got a scholarship to the University of New Mexico, but travel from Mumbai, India, and living expenses while at the school were not covered. Narmada devised a plan to sell some of her jewelry to give her son his chance in the larger world. He did not squander the opportunity: he became an engineer and eventually got his Ph.D.
And along the way he fell in love with Sudha. At the time, many marriages in India were still arranged by the families. Sudha met Pandit this way, and she had one condition for joining her life with his. Pandit would have to send her to dental school!
How does one get from dentistry to winemaking? “It’s not exactly as odd as it may seem,” Sudha laughs. “My undergraduate degree was in chemistry. And running labs on your wines as they develop is a very important part of the process.” Chemistry or art? Winemaking employs a bit of both. And a certain sensitivity to tastes, flavors, and aromas.
Growing up in India, Sudha learned to cook in her mother’s kitchen. The heady scents of cardamom, clove, cumin, black pepper, anise – spices roasting and onions and garlic frying – were a part of everyday life. Is it any wonder that her wines are kissed with these elusive flavors and aromas crafted from our own unique Virginia terroir and grapes?
Narmada Mom is the winery’s signature wine, and best-seller. Named for Pandit’s mother, this fruity white wine pleases every palate. Narmada’s reds are held in high regard as well. In 2015, Narmada Yash-Vir, a meritage blend, was named one of the top twelve wines in the state at the Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition. The current release of Yash-Vir has garnered gold medals at the San Diego International, San Francisco International, Long Beach Grand Cru, Sommelier Challenge and Critics Challenge wine competitions.
Pandit and Sudha welcome your visit. The winery offers three distinctive tasting flights. They have 19 delicious wines as well as a wine and chocolate pairing. Join Narmada’s wine club for the best discounts and to receive advance notice of events and new releases.
Tasting Room: Open Friday-Monday 12 to 5
and by appointment Tuesday-Thursday
43 Narmada Lane – Amissville, Virginia 20106