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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, January 30 2008. 11:00 AM

Karnataka Wine Board Gets Progressive

Karnataka has finally woken up to the missed opportunities in its grape growing and wine industry with its Wine Board announcing plans to help the grape growers by promising them a very attractive support price and advising them to grow only the varieties suitable for wine-making.

Managing Director of the Wine Board, Dr. Krishna said the board also had plans to encourage contract farming, which has been the back bone of Maharashtra wine industry for over a decade now. To help the growers get the right price for their grapes, the board has announced the support price of Rs.45 a kg. At present the wine grapes are available from Rs.25- 38 a kg. in Maharashtra.

Dr. Krishna said the Board had imported French grape varieties and was sure they would grow well in Karnataka. He added that the board expected to get 4.5 tonnes per acre, which was more or less equivalent to the yield in France. He said over 200 acres had been brought under cultivation with these imported grape varieties.

The board was also planning to hold a Wine Fest every year to attract international wine companies and consumers.The board was also planning to have a series of "taverns" only for marketing wine. These establishments could only sell wine and no other liquor. The deputy commissioners of all districts would be empowered to give licences to the taverns. As a pilot project, the board would also set up a model winery unit at the Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Research at Hesaraghatta here, which would impart training to the growers to set up their own wineries.

Chandigarh has already taken lead in this concept with license for taverns made available to the shops selling liquor, at very reasonable prices. Wines and snacks can be sold at these quasi wine bars with practically no mark ups over the retail prices.

Agriculture Secretary Mr. A. Ramaswamy is hopeful that the grapes grown in Karnataka and wines made from Karnataka grown grapes would find an attractive export market. Nine varieties of grapes in a total area of 95,000 hectares are grown in the State with an annual output of 1,80,000 tonnes.

Chairman of Horticultural Co-operative Marketing (HOPCOMS), Mune Gowda is confident of Bangalore's own exclusive variety "Bangalore Blue" being suitable for wine-making. He was speaking at the Grape Mela they had organised on Monday.

He said HOPCOMS would encourage growers to increase the planting of Bangalore Blue variety and also set up their own wineries. He said this variety was only suitable for making wine and "it was the only chance for the grape growers to add value to their produce".

Meanwhile, industry figures show that Karnataka has pipped its neighbour, Andhra Pradesh as the largest Indian made liquor (IML) market with volumes sky-rocketing after it announced a ban on arrack sales in August last year. Karnataka consumed 3.2 million cases ( 9 litre) in November against Andhra Pradesh's 3 million. These figures also include the rather dismal quantity of sale of wine. Tamil Nadu stands third with monthly depletion of around 2.6 lmillion cases.

The single largest selling IML brand in Karnataka is the economy priced Original Choice from John Distillers with monthly lifting of over 0.5 million cases. This distillary has also started producing Big Banyan wines in Goa with the 2006 vintage already out last year.

Whether Bangalore Blue grapes can make good quality wines has yet to be proved. They may be ok for low end table wines but the officials will do well to go easy on promoting such concepts without proper trials and results. Also by keeping the support price of grapes at much higher than is existent in Maharashtra means that the cost of making wine will go up in Karnataka and may make them non-competitive. The Board should also take a decision on whether to charge higher excise duties from wines from Maharshtra where Karnataka -produced wines suffer an unjustifiable excise duty of 150% of the manufacturing cost, making them non-competitive in Maharashtra, the biggest wine market in India - Editor



Posted By : Pooja Immadi

August 13, 2010 13:00

Please enlist the names of the varieties of grapes used for wine making specially in Karnataka (Bangalore), that would be of great help.

Posted By : v.suresh babu

June 25, 2008 10:33

we would be happy if u can provide us details such as address/phone number of wine board of karnataka so that we can interact with them.

Posted By : mohammed kaiser

June 21, 2008 11:11

we are grapes grower and supplier of wine grapes we want to supply wine grapes to wine making companys for long term contract we supply wine grapes to companys by the company cost only we want to supply our grapes to wine companys only please send reply


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