India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Harvest 2012: Better Quality and Quantity expected in Nashik

Posted: Monday, 13 February 2012 11:26

Harvest 2012: Better Quality and Quantity expected in Nashik

Feb 13 : After three miserable years for the Nashik growers suffering vagaries of nature and unexpected, out-of-season rains in November resulting in extra labour costs and extensive damage to the crops, the region has seen a perfect weather that is expected to yield both higher quality and quantity than the last three years, says Subhash Arora who discussed with viticulturists and winery owners in Nashik last week.

Unlike team cricket India that suffered 15 continuous overseas defeats before tasting a win at Melbourne Cricket Ground for their T20 match, Nashik had to suffer mercifully, only three poor harvests before boasting the possibility of a great vintage from the point of view of both quantity and quality, the slaps of recession making it a double whammy for the poor grape growers.

There had been extended rains in November through the post-pruning season in three consecutive years causing 30-40% damage to the crops at many places. This year there were no rains, there has been no problem of odium or any other mildew and disease and the farmers could also save money otherwise  spent to control the disease. Nashik, the center of grape production in Maharashtra expects an increased yield of 15-25% this harvest which was started for white grapes in many parts  and is expected to last till end March, beginning April.

Sula had a crop of 5000 tons from its own vineyards and the contracted farms last year but expects a bumper crop of 6000 tons and that too with excellent quality, says Neeraj Agarwal, Chief Viticulturist at Sula Vineyards, the leading vintner of India. Harvest of white grapes was started on January 20.

Jagdish Holkar, President of the All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) and Chairman-elect of the Indian Grape Processing Board says this is a healthy vintage with crops being very clean.  He expects the total grape production to be between 12000-15000 tons, about 15%-20% higher than last year. He feels that despite the higher demand this year with tanks emptying fast as the market has picked up steam, growers may still be obliged to leave 5-10% of crop on the vines due to the lack of lift-off.

Neeraj Agarwal who is also on the viticulture committee of AIWPA headed by Mahindra Bhambre of Prathamesh Wines says that the Association is trying its best to see that this excess left on the vine does not become a reality. ‘Most farmers have long-term contracts with a winery and cannot sell to the others. We are all coming together and devising a strategy so that this year they may be allowed to sell their surplus to other wineries on the condition that is only a one-off deal to balance the supply and demand. Next year they must go back to fulfilling their contract under the existing agreement. We want the farmers to be able to sell off all their crops so that they are not left in a situation where they are forced to uproot wine grape stocks any further.

To make it practical, farmers will have to be paid a minimum amount per kg for grapes to avoid any exploitation due to surplus, even as he confirmed that Sula has expressed its intention to buy the surplus grapes to help growers. The rates have been fixed at Rs. 25-28 per kg for white grapes while Shiraz can be sold at a minimum price of Rs. 30-32 per kg; Cabernet would attract a higher rate of Rs. 35 a kg.

According to various estimates, the wine grape cultivation in Maharashtra  has come down to around 4000 acres alone from a high of 8000 acres a couple of years ago, with the frustrated growers forced to leave the un-saleable grapes on the vines, deciding to uproot the wine grape crop and switch to other crops. (Karnataka has another estimated 1000 acres according to industry estimates).

Despite a good crop and the possibility of a total lift-off, farmers are not going to be in a hurry to replant with wine grapes at least this year, opines Holkar. ‘Farmers who have been really hit by asmani (nature) as well as sultani (recession etc) tsunamis are weary of getting into wine grapes at least for one more year,’ he says. The objective for the wineries this year as a group, at least as a wish list, is to ‘save the vineyards’. Most of the industry runs on buying grapes on long term contracts.

Neeraj Deorah also agrees with the opinion expressed by other viticulturists. ‘I think this is the best vintage we have had since the last 5 years. No unseasonal rains, plenty of sun and no diseases mean an increase in the crop output for our growers.’ This could result in an advantage for Zampa as they contract by the acre with an average yield of R.150,000 to 200,000 an acre.

Zampa may be an exception more than the rule. Most wineries like to contract by the kg rates. Neeraj Agarwal says, ‘if we contract on an acreage basis, the farmers always try to use less pesticide, avoid sprays and cut corners despite our regular visits,  and feel that yields are irrelevant for them. We therefore pay them by the Kg.’

In a related development, the financially stressed Indage is reported to have promised the farmers that they will fulfil the agreement with the farmers and lift the grapes for crushing. Although Indage could not be contacted, Jagdish Holkar who was earlier supplying bulk wine to Indage till a couple of years ago, concurs. ‘There are about 700-800 tons that have been contracted by Indage. Mr Sham Chougule has promised the farmers to lift the grapes and crush them to make wine. Holkar further confirms that all the growers have been paid for their crop of 2008-2010 and the 2011 payments have been mostly made.

With wine tanks about to be emptied this season, grape growers of Maharashtra in general and Nashik belt in particular should heave a sigh of relief and look forward to an excellent year.

Subhash Arora


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet