Jan 19: India became a member of International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) as the 45th member of the UN-type organization for grapes and wines and Cav. Subhash Arora was awarded a special medal for his efforts in 2011 but the interest has since been waning, writes Federico Castellucci who was the Honorary Director General at that time and was instrumental in getting the admission on a unanimous vote
There have been many nice and important moments in my ten years appointment at the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, OIV, but one of those I remember with the fondest memories is the process of activity which led to India becoming the 45th Member of the OIV; this was the combined effort of many people-both from the public and the private sector.
First of all we should all be grateful to HE Ranjan Mathai who, at first as Indian Ambassador in France and then as Foreign Affairs Secretary in India, had given the right and powerful impulse to this process of membership. The Indian Grape Processing Board (IGPB) at Pune did its part as well, OIV being an intergovernmental organisation of scientific nature, for which the support and the intervention of the scientists of the Member Countries is of paramount importance.
Indian government had decided to make their voice heard worldwide in the wine sector, asking for OIV membership. With a vineyard surface that grew spectacularly by 66% between 1998 and 2008, reaching an extent of about 71.400 hA*, the OIV Member States reacted very positively voting UNANIMOUSLY in favor of Indian becoming a part of the world wine family.
The subsequent visit of two Directors General of OIV to India, myself at first and then my successor Jean Marie Aurand, where quite successful and a good occasion of meeting with the Public Authorities, the scientific sector as well as with trade and industry, confirming the strong interest of OIV of an Indian active intervention and cooperation with the Organization activity.
This positive status was confirmed by a consistent, active presence of Indian scientists and experts in various domains at the OIV meetings and with the appointment of Dr Adsule as scientific coordinator for the table grapes working group; as a cherry on the cake Cavaliere Subhash Arora was awarded, the first Indian in the history of the OIV, with the Merite of the OIV, during the general assembly held in Oporto in 2011, this being the right and well deserved recognition to a person who had been for many years the enthusiastic supporter and the networking builder for Indian membership to OIV.
While we now celebrate the 800th issue of DelWine for which I strongly rejoice and which has become a good habit to read and a strong reference for many experts in the sector, I must confess that I have the feeling that this initial active enthusiasm and presence of the Indian Delegation in OIV activities is a bit decreasing; I hope it is just a temporary status, since India as I have always maintained, as surely a bright future ahead for its vitivinicultural sector and wine consumption, with full respect of different beliefs and full attention to moderation in consumption, as well in the table grapes area, in which it has a particularly strong expertise.
At the same time all the scientific patrimony of OIV could be more fully exploited in order to set scientific rules and references in India by its Public Authorities. An increased intervention and presence into OIV activities of Indian representatives and experts of the table grapes and wine industry sector should also be envisaged and welcomed.
I am sure that the newly appointed OIV DG Pau Roca will continue and enhance the approach of enthusiastic and active cooperation with Indian Authorities and the whole Indian wine sector. With the strong wish that this will be the future evolution of Indian activity in OIV, I do remain a strong supporter and deep friend of the whole Indian sector.
Honorary Director General of OIV (2004 - 2013)
India has been privileged to be a member of this prestigious organisation. OIV has a treasure trove of useful information that can be shared. It also offers an opportunity to represent India, through President of the Association, who is elected from amongst the membership and is a producer. This entails proper vision and active participation of the industry which must be carried with the Ministry of Food Processing Industry. India has been extremely myopic and not realizing that table grapes are as much part of the industry than can benefit by being active in the group. One hopes that wisdom prevails and they start active participation. The old adage very much applies here, ‘ where there is a will there is a way.’ Jai Ho!! Editor
*The surface area includes eating grapes which is predominant in this figure- editor
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