Dec 06: All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) hopes to soon organise a Wine Conference in Mumbai in conjunction with the Excise Department, says the new President Jagdish Holkar who has grandiose plans to take the Association and the industry in India ahead many notches during his term, writes Subhash Arora who believes that the fledgling fruit wine industry should also be included and that all stakeholders should be motivated to join and strengthen the organisation
Holkar who had invited the team headed by State Excise Commissioner Shri K.B. Umap, Government of Maharashtra a couple of weeks ago and visited several wineries including Sula, Chandon, Vinsura and Flamingo Winery to showcase to the government officials the winemaking process. He has been in touch with the Commissioner in an attempt to collaborate with the department to organise a Conference in Mumbai where the state of the Indian wine industry could be shared and steps taken to strengthen it.
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The State Excise Policy of Maharashtra that was announced for 10 years in 2001 was later extended till 2021. The results were not as good as expected by the government or the industry. The Conference will be an attempt to ensure the further extension for 10 years, addressing the issues not raised earlier. Despite the facilities provided, the industry has not made much headway, barring 3-4 wineries like Sula, Fratelli, York and Grover.
Holkar says that the fruit wine industry has since developed quit a lot and a wider perspective should be taken, including the fruit wine industry also being a part of the wine industry. The policy needs to be liberal and more attractive. The Association plans to focus more on Maharashtra and Karnataka which together own over 85% of the market.
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The industry is still very fragmented even after 20 years of working. The Association plans to focus on making it more organised. We must strengthen the value chain from ‘grape to glass’- feels Holkar. This means working closely with the government departments. The perennial problem of the government clubbing wine with liquor persists and the Association needs to work closely so the government differentiates between the two. Barring a few States, wine is not even a significant part of the beverage bouquet, thanks to heavy taxes. In fact, in 28 states there is no wine available at all, says Holkar.
The Association had elected Holkar as the President for the second term in October. The active team consists of D N Raju (Darby) of Bangalore and Jaideep Patil from Maharashtra as the Vice Presidents, Sula’s Vice President Sanjeev Paithankar as the Secretary, Rajesh Borse from Sangli as the Treasurer. Former President Yatin Patel is of course also in the managing committee. There are 10 members of the managing committee.
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The annual sales turnover of Indian wines is around Rs. 1000 crores. AIWPA plans to take it to almost Rs. 5000 crores by 2025, he says. ‘We need to discuss with various stakeholders how to achieve this target,’ he says. The plans and ambitious targets notwithstanding, the Indian wine industry needs to come together to march ahead for better days and make the industry well-established.
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