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IGPB: Draft National Wine Standards on Website

Posted: Tuesday, 26 March 2013 10:30

IGPB: Draft National Wine Standards on Website

Mar 26: Indian Grape Processing Board plans to introduce National Wine Standards and has recently posted the first draft proposal on its website for the stakeholders to send their observations, comments and suggestions for amendment before April 15. The three part document lists Code Of Practices, Proposed Standards and Standards Justification in fair detail.

In India no data is available on the standards to be followed in case of wines. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set   some standards but these are not elaborated based on the scientific findings. Further the definition of  the  different  types  of  wines  is  absent  in  India that defines  the  category  of  the  wines  or  other  products.  However,  the International organisation of Vines and Wines (OIV) of which India became a member through the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, has  clearly  defined  the  definitions  of  the  grapes,  wines  and  other  processed products derived from grapes like musts. These definitions are widely accepted globally and therefore these definitions have been considered for making standards in India as well.

Basic definition: Section 1.6 of the proposed draft deals with the definition of the basic wines:

According to the draft proposal, Wine is defined as the beverage resulting exclusively from the partial or complete alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, whether crushed or not, or of grape must. Its actual alcohol content shall not be less than 8.5% vol. But under certain conditions laid out, the minimum  alcohol  content  may  be  able  to  be  reduced to 7% vol. by legislation in each State of production. 

Special Wines have been defined as Flor or Film wines. These Sherry like wines are not being produced at the moment and would perhaps not be seen for many years to come. But some areas near the sea coast may find it interesting to try making them like in Spain.

It needs to be clarified that such wines may not be called Sherry wines in any way in order to protect the Geographic Identity of the typical wines from Jerez and a couple of cities around it - El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Fortified  wines  produced  from  fresh  grapes,  musts  or  wines  with  a  natural  total  alcohol  content of at least 12 % vol., to which only wine spirit, rectified food alcohol or rectified alcohol of viticultural origin are added. A part of the actual alcohol content of the finished product, that shall  not  be  less  than  4  %  vol.,  must  come  from  the  total  or  partial  fermentation  of  the  initial  sugar. The  wine  spirit,  rectified  food  alcohol  or  alcohol  of  viticultural  origin  which  are  added must  comply  with  the  conditions  fixed for  the  production  of these products  in  the  International  Code of oenological practices and with the prescriptions of the International Oenological Codex.  Based on the recommendation of the OIV, it is recommended that the rectified food alcohol must be of viticultural origin.

The proposal also seeks to define Syrup wines, carbonated wines and sparkling wines with the sweetness levels and carbon dioxide pressure etc. Similarly, the subject of Sweet wines and Icewine has been handled though it is unlikely that we would have the climate suitable for the latter. Mistelles are also included (vin de liqueur).

Wine spirits, distillates, brandies etc have all been added to complete the portfolio of grape related wines. Naturally, a complete set of definitions relating to grapes and raisins is an important part of the definitions. Standards are sought to be defined for viticulture and vinification. General Grape varieties in India have been defined. One assumes the list will be expandable without many bureaucratic hurdles as the grape varieties are constantly being sought to be expanded.

For instance, Vintage wines is already growing Nero d’Avola and Grillo, while Fratelli has Sangiovese and a small quantity of Marsanne being cultivated in the vineyards. These varieties are not included in the list. More growers are expected to experiment with hitherto unknown varietals.

Fruit wines

Since the laws drafted are primarily based on OIV which is an organisation for grapes and grape wines, there is no mention of Fruit Wines which are also being produced in increasing numbers though the quantities produced are still relatively small. Himachal Pradesh is known for its apple wines and those made with peaches, strawberries, apricots, kiwis, cherries and several other fruits. Mango and lychee wines are also being produced in Haryana. Strawberry wines have found a place in Pune. The North-eastern belt is producing fruit wines on an experimental basis.

The laws will need to at least define them and categorize them as such to differentiate them from the mainstream wines-the grape wines. There is a viewpoint that favours the word 'wine' to refer only to a product related to vines (grapes). While that may be too narrow a definition, the consumer ought to be explained the difference between (grape) wine and (fruit) wine.

Port Wines

Although the draft talks about fortified wines, it does not specifically ban the use of the word ‘Port’ or Goan Port which is being very commonly used to define low end wines made from indigenous grapes and fortified, and the nomenclature of Port or Goan Port when made in Goa. This is an illegal and unethical usage of a registered Geographic Indicator term meant to describe the wine produced exclusively in the designated areas in Portugal and the issued must be addressed by the laws.

Bio Wines

The term is used loosely by a few producers who claim to reinforce the wines with additives with health benefits. There would be a need to define the specific additives that are allowed in such wines to ensure there are no harmful components.


Although the laws drafted are presently silent on the Appellation, a mechanism needs to be put in place to define viticultural regions based on geographic location and terroir - a protected geographic indication which could be called IVA (Indian Viticultural Area)  based on the simple AVA (American Viticultural Area)  system in the US, VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) in Canada or DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) in Austria.

The Karnataka Government has declared grape growing districts of Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban and Kolar districts as "Nandi Valley" while Bijapur, Bagalkot, and Belgaum districts are clubbed as "Krishna Valley." ‘Sahyadari Hills’ is already being touted as a region from Maharashtra. Wines from Nashik or Dindori have clear geographic claims for a separate appellation. The basic work needs to start perhaps as a part of the wine laws.

Proposed Wine Standards define the limits of variables like Arsenic, Methanol, Sulphur Dioxide, Volatile Acidity (VA is a specially important factor for Indian wines). Proposed Standards and Justification for Indian wines forms the last part of the draft. It lists the standards laid by OIV and/or BIS and seeks to set the various limits. The wine stakeholders are requested by the IGPB to send in their comments and suggestions to them by April 15. IGPB will then deliberate on the observations, suggestions before finalization.

Communication may be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and or

For details of various sections, please visit:
· Code of Practices
· Proposed wine standards
· Wine Brand Article

Tags: International organisation of Vines and Wines (OIV), Sherry, Fratelli, Goan Port, IGPB



Subhash Arora Says:

I think it would not be wise to tinker around too much with the lables to give an Indian feel-especially if we want to compete in the internatonal markets in 10-20 years. Remember more the governmental interventions, more painful it gets. Arora

Posted @ April 22, 2011 15:40


Jay kumar.V Says:

Are we also looking at exclusive indian wine label terms to give it a more niche feel. And also to regulate label terms and terminology

Posted @ April 22, 2013 15:25


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