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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Saturday, January 16 2010. 11:55

Blog: What’s in a Name like IGPB

After a few years of wine industry speculating about the formation of a National Wine Board to help promote the Indian wine industry, came the confusing and confounding news that an Indian Grape Processing Board was being created with an initial participation by the government and industry to help the wine industry. So what had happened to the National Wine Board?

Even the background papers floating around a couple of years before the news became public knowledge, the corridors in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, also talked about the ministry pushing a proposal for it.

It was a few months after the Board was formed did one realize that the IGPB was nothing but the government chickening out and avoiding using wine in the name and was the new name for the National Wine Board. Obviously it was a ploy to keep the anti-alcohol lobby at bay.

And here lies the rub.

Unless our bureaucrats and politicians take the bull by the horn and delink wine from spirits and hard liquors, the growth in wine consumption will always be impeded, especially in so far as the government policies are concerned. It is ironic that Karnataka formed a Karnataka Wine Board a year or so earlier and one never heard any hullabaloo about the name. Apparently, the central government feels otherwise.

A senior colleague, Mr. Federico Castellucci, the Director General of the Paris based international organisation of Vines and Wine always tries to pacify me and reason with me by saying that there are a few OIV member countries in the middle east and Africa where people are generally anti alcohol. To circumvent the problem, their governments also avoid the use of ‘wine’ in their national boards.

Mystery Unraveled

The mystery about who helped cause the name change was unraveled last week at the Gaja winemaker dinner organised by the Gaja wines importer Brindco and Hotel Aman together during the recent visit of Gaia Gaja when I met Mr. Mani Shankar Iyer, the former member of Rajya Sabha, who was one of the invitees at the special event.

‘The general elections were approaching when one day Subodh  (Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, the then and now Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry) told me about his dilemma of announcing the formation of the National Wine Board which had already been promised but the timing was a sensitive issue. He was apprehensive about forming the Board at that time, fearing a political backlash because of the word ‘wine’ in it- a risky decision just before the elections.’

‘That’s no problem, I told him. Just call it a grape processing board,’ and voilá- the Indian Grape Processing Board emerged – just as Mr. Castellucci had reasoned.

And business is as usual at the Karnataka Wine Board in Bangalore. I wonder if it was right for the government to buckle down and how far would it weigh down the working of the Board and its achievements. It would be nice if you share your views.

Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

KS, I agree with you in principle. But from the very beginning of the concept, the Board was meant to be for wine making and one was talking about the Wine Board. I could understand and appreciate it if it was called National Vine and Wine Board or Indian Vine and Wine Board. it is the strange aversion due to ignorance that is not understandable. Assuming the conversation took place as I reported and exactly as told to me, it shows the fear against talking about wine in public. Tha's what needs to be changed in our psyche through proper education, I feel.

Posted @ January 18, 2010 15:15


Subhash Arora Says:

Alok, this needs to change and you, I and thousands others have to keep at it. Don't forget that there was no wine to speak of when the practice of naming the shops started. People have to understand through education, the difference between brewing, fermentation and distillation. People have to understand the alcohol level and what it does for health. Non drinkers (I have been one, so I know) have to understand that beer and wine are not taboo. The politicians and the decision makers should now realise the difference between low alcohol products like beer and wine and the hard liquors like whisky, vodka etc.I am sure glad Karnataka took the decision of naming it Karnataka Wine Board. Subhash 

Posted @ January 18, 2010 15:10


Alok Chandra Says:

Subhash What is happening is entirely understandable once we realisee that the public equates "Wine" with liqour - after all, most retail shops have the title "XYZ WINE SHOP" (never spirit shop) - so in the popular imagination, there's no distinction between low alcohol prosucst like wine or baar and high-alcohol beverages likw whisky, brands, vodka or rum.

Posted @ January 18, 2010 12:52


kskarnic Says:

As the name suggests the Grape processing board, it can oversee all sorts of processing of grapes from drying,fermentation, fresh juice and other modes of proceesing where as the wine board can only look into wine making and its marketing aspects and not any other processing where grapes are dried/crushed etc

Posted @ January 18, 2010 12:50


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