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Mizoram Village to be the biggest in grape production

Here is a piece of news that might be of interest to the Indages, Sulas and Grovers and or all the Indian wineries on the fast track, who feel a shortage of grapes. Deccan Herald reports about the fast grape growing culture in Northeast India.

Hnahlan village, near the Indo-Myanmar border, noted for its extensive grape cultivation, is now striving to become the largest grape producing village in India . Around 80 per cent of the villagers were engaged in grape-cultivation, after foresaking the primitive shifting cultivation 10 years ago and were now reaping the 'fruits of their labour', sources said.

The enthusiasm of the grape farmers had been fuelled by the amendment of the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act. The Act had earlier prevented them from large-scale commercialisation of their products and wine-making from grapes. The green foliages and fruits of the grape gardens would be ready for harvest by the later part of July, the sources added.

Hnahlan village recently, were convinced that, with its suitable climate and soil conditions, the region had the capability for double-cropping of grapes. Generally, one quintal of grape juice was worth as much as Rs 15,000 according to the present rate of grape juice, official sources informed. They added that grape cultivation was a better alternative to the toilsome, primitive, but hard-to-part-with shifting cultivation.

Hnahlan had high hopes of becoming the largest raw material producer for wineries across the country. However, Hnahlan grapes were not without foes. Pests (locally referred to as Keltelaimawm) constantly ransacked the grapes. To combat this menace, the Horticulture department had been providing them with adequate pesticides and GI wires. Another big problem the grape-growers were facing was the lack of proper equipment for fermentation of grapes. Grape juices were processed in Sintex plastic barrels, the most unhygienic way of fermentation. With the amendment of the MLTP Act, the state government had promised to provide proper equipment for fermentation. As a result, the  neighbouring villages had also adopted grape cultivation.

Report on   http://www.deccanherald.com

Comments:

#Posted By : Subhash Arora

I agree with Avtar too and now what you are saying is also same thing and basically correct. Mizoram has since started producing wine-though in very small quantities. What is important also is that more people should shift to wine drinking –be it Mumbai, Mizoram or Meghalaya. To that extent local wines at lower rates will meet the requirements of some people. Premium wines (Rs.500-700) will always be there. Also, please do not forget Mizoram allows wines produced fn the State only to be sold-there is prohibition otherwise. Subhash Arora

January 14, 2011 11:54

 

#Posted By : Tony

I'd like to support Avtar's comments. The generally wet and humid conditions for much of the year in Mizoram are not conducive to the growing and ripening of V. vinifera varieties. Mizoram is mainly growing V. labrusca - a grape not much appreciated by oenophiles on account of its 'foxy' characteristics.  Press reports suggest that these grapes only have sufficient sugar to produce ca. 9% abv after fermentation, so it is no surprise that their first wine is fortified. Quality wine producers have little to fear from the arrival of Mizoram onto the Indian wine scene. Best Regards. Mr Tony

January 14, 2011 10:34

 

#Posted By : Avtar Singh Sandhu

Dear Subhash

I read with interest your report about Grape growing in Mizoram. As you know all grapes do not translate into wine grapes. There is some misunderstanding in India that Grapes grown in all parts of India  are of a quality suitable for making fine wine. Punjab and Haryana tried this unsuccessfully.

The following is an extract about the climate in Mizoram:

Winter is followed by spring which starts at the end of February  and continues till the middle of April.  In April, storms occur and the summer starts.  In April and May temperature goes up to 30 C. Rainfall is generally evenly distributed. Mizoram, as a whole, gets an average rainfall of about 3,000 mm

Heavy rains start in June and continue upto August. September and October are the autumn months when the rains cease and the temperature is usually between 19 C and 25 C.

From the above it is clear that the growing season for grapes to mature is only about 60 to 80 days. That is from late Feb. to early June. It may be adequate for table grapes with low sugar.

I therefore feel that it is misplaced to suggest that the other wine grape growing regions in India will be surpassed by Mizoram. Any sugar in grape juice can be fermented to alcohol, however not every bit of 'Ethyl Alcohol' can be called wine, even if the source is grapes. Although technically you could call it wine good or bad!

I feel that there is need for education about regions, climate, temperature, soils, periods of rainfall, soil and many other factors to comprehend suitable 'Terroir' for Wine Grapes.

Best regards

Avtar

 
 
 

 
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