Oct 29: UP is not an ideal region to produce quality grape wines but it grows various exotic fruits like mango, jamun, guava, and litchi etc which can make excellent wines with a lot of market potential within UP, India and even overseas and it is encouraging to see the government realise the potential and support the industry with unprecedented incentives, writes Subhash Arora who feels that the industry has an excellent future in every fruit growing region pan India
To promote fruit wines in a big way, the government of Uttar Pradesh has made provisions for the promotion of wine production units in the State Excise Policy 2021-22, according to top officials UP has a progressive wine policy but there is no wine producing unit, saysAnil Sawhney, who owns Godson Organic Farm at Bareilly and is ready to start a boutique winery. He is excited with the government appreciating the difference between wine and liquor and the potential and health benefits of low-alcohol fruit wines, ready to go the extra mile in supporting the industry.
Additional chief secretary excise, Mr. Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy feels that at least a dozen wine-making units should come up soon in the major fruit producing regions of the state. Sawhney is interested in setting up a unit to promote wine tourism at his farm and will soon become a pioneer setting up the winery.
"Several sub-tropical fruits like mango, jamun, guava, litchi, and papaya are grown in UP. Unfortunately more than half the fruits go waste due to lack of proper storage facilities,” said Mr. Bhoosreddy, after a meeting in Lucknow with several industry representatives including Jagdish Holkar, President of All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) who met him with 2 senior functionaries of the Association- Sr. Vice President at Sula Vineyards and Ashwin Rodriguez, owner of Good Drop Cellars.
If wineries are set up here, the industry will get a boost through incentives, farmers will get the right price for their produce and the state will earn revenue through sale of wine. More importantly, most of the fruits will also be used,” he said. Holkar says that UP, with a population of 260 million is a big State that cannot be ignored and also has a huge consumption potential. His team was really impressed with the vision of the government team and their understanding of the employment potential and concern for the rise in farmers’ income.
As per the new excise policy, wine produced from fruits grown within the state will enjoy free excise duty and several other considerations for the next five years. This will include tasting and selling wines at the winery with a nominal license fee of Rs. 50,000 a year. This should encourage several units to come up in the state.
Excise commissioner, Mr. Senthil Pandiyan reportedly said that efforts are being made to identify districts where fruit cultivation is high but the produce is not used fully, in order to help locate the wineries in such areas, says Sawhney, adding that Mr. Bhoosreddy has recommended an investor meet in Lucknow in mid-December where other existing wineries in the country will also be invited in addition to potential investors.
Growing agro economy through fruit wines
This could signal a big boom for the agro-economy, according to delWine. Citing the example of North-East India, Subhash Arora, President of Indian Wine Academy says that Kiwi fruit in Arunachal Pradesh used to grow in abundance but with not enough local consumption. Even after feeding the animals, it used to be left on the plants as there were no takers- till a woman engineer Rita Tage, collected the farmers, and started an organic kiwi winery, Naara Aaba in Ziro Valley and now provides steady income to a farmers’ collective.
There is also the example of HillZill Fruzzante Winery in Maharashtra where the tribals grow and bring chikoo (Sapota) to the winery in Bordi. They have also set up beehives within Maharashtra and make excellent ARKA Mead (honey wine). Another winery Resvera, started making Jamun wines last year and even gives out seeds after removing fruit, to the local women collectives to grow more jamun for making 3 variants of Jamun wine.
Himachal Pradesh has been producing plum and apple wines for almost 2 decades with the government- owned H.P. Produce Marketing and the private entrepreneur Minchie’s not far behind, thus using the fruit grown within the State.
In the USA, only a few States produce grape wines whereas every State produces fruit wines of excellent quality. In Canada, where delicious ripe apples grow in abundance, the apple ice-wine has made inroads and reinforced the market of (grape) ice-wine.
Process similar to grape wines
The process of making grape or the fruit wine is basically similar- by fermenting the fruit with yeast which converts sugar into wine. The process of extracting sugar may be slightly different in different fruits but the technology exists with the producers and foreign and Indian consultants available.
No outside ingredients may be added to produce flavour in grape wine. But fruit wines often have flavours of other fruits added to give complexity. Also, they are generally not matured in wood or stored for long periods, thus making the costs and price lower. All wines, when drunk in moderation, are good for health and need to be distinguished from the high alcohol liquor that has alcohol over 40%. Sawhney talks of Shlokas in old health treatises that mention health benefits of wine (Sura).
All these wineries are expected to showcase their wines at the maiden edition of Vinexpo India to be held in Pragati Maidan in Delhi on 9-11 December, 2021 and there might be further news at the Show about Anil Sawhney’ s wine project and the progress made by the UP government. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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