December 2010 - Posts
Antique Wine Company, one of the world’s foremost wine merchants has ventured into India and appointed wine consultant, educator and commentator, Sonal Holland as its sole country representative.
Highly qualified both in wine expertise and business, Sonal Holland has been privy to the Indian wine industry / consumers and her association with Antique Wine Company promises to open the country’s doors to the finest wines in the world and place India on the map of global fine wine trading.
As the sole representative of Antique Wine Company, Sonal Holland will carry forth the Company’s services within India and across all segments; from the fine wine market to the finance and investment sector.
Sonal Holland began her career in the hospitality industry after completing her Diploma in Hotel Management from the Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai after which she worked with the Taj Group and Oberoi Group of Hotels acquiring knowledge in food & beverage in particular. She holds an MBA from the University of Mumbai and has also completed an Advanced Course in Management from the leading management institute XLRI, Jamshedpur.
More recently as an independent wine consultant, Sonal has advised hotels and restaurants on developing new and exciting wine lists, as well as advising international wine companies on India markets and effective launch strategies. Sonal regularly organizes wine tastings for senior corporateclients including Accenture, Unilever and L’Oreal; consulate houses .
Escaping from the confines of high-end hotels, wine is rapidly becoming
the drink of choice for upper middle class Indians. In fact, wine
consultant Sonal Holland says that the alcoholic beverage has seen a
boom in the last three years.
"From consuming less than a million casks a year to close to three
million today, the Indian wine market is growing rapidly," says Holland,
who also runs a wine academy.
Indians have on our side is enthusiasm," she smiles, "When I see
everyone from CEOs to college students making notes in my class, I know
it won't be long before wine becomes a part of weekly grocery shopping
The one factor deterring the growth of wine culture is the
taxation system. "The taxes are subject to state rules and though
Maharashtra is one of the highest producers of wine in India, selling
the produce outside the state increases the price by up to 300 per
cent," rues Shankarnarayan. Import
duties too imply that a bottle of wine which can be purchased for up to
Rs 1,000 in the West, will cost close to Rs 3,000 in India.
That hasn't deterred importers from investing here. This
year saw at least half a dozen international wineries tie up with
locals and new international brands took up space on the
retail racks," points out Holland. Fratelli wines, one of the more
prominent Italian brands, has taken over close to 240 acres of land in
Solapur to test 13 different kinds of grape in Indian soil.
From being available at grocery stores in malls to wine lounges and
clubs and rapidly growing wine education schools, Mumbai has indeed
taken to a concept that was once considered chiefly European. B
Shankarnarayan, the coordinator of the Annual Bandra Wine Festival,
attributes this to various factors. "The fruity taste of wine appeals to
most people, including women. And unlike other alcohol, wine is an
accompaniment to food, thus limiting its intake," he explains.
However, Shankarnarayan feels that the key to wine's popularity lies in the sampling ritual. "Indian
professionals have received ample exposure to the wine culture on their
travels abroad where, by spending a mere $10, they get a chance to
sample up to 15 varieties of wine. Now, wineries as well as importers are pushing for the same culture at home."
More: Indian Express
Bangalore is the third largest wine consuming city in the country after Mumbai and Delhi.
Leading affordable casual dining restaurant brand, Pizza Hut has now
introduced Four Seasons Wines – India’s most awarded range of wines, in
their menu. Partnering with Four Seasons Wines Limited (FSWL), part of
the UB Group, Pizza Hut will now be serving Four Seasons Wines at select
restaurants in Bangalore.
Pizza Hut is transitioning from a quick service restaurant to an
affordable casual dining restaurant brand with an aim to provide an
enhanced dining experience. The restaurant serves Italian-inspired cuisine
that can be accompanied very well with wine, enhancing flavors and
offering a delightful culinary experience. There are plans to expand
this offering to more number of restaurants in Bangalore and to other
major cities as well.
Speaking on the association with Pizza Hut, Sidhartha Mallya,
Director-Royal Challengers Sports Private Ltd & General Manager Marketing,
USL says, “The current Alco Bev penetration is 42.5% in India. Beer
& Whisky penetration is 26% & 23% respectively, while Wine is at
0.6%. However 4 times as many people have expressed their willingness
to taste wine but haven’t done so for lack of necessary casual
fine-dining experience & opportunity. Given the background, we are
very upbeat about our association with Pizza Hut which will serve Four
Seasons Wines. In keeping with our desire to de-mystify the category,
trigger growth in wine awareness and consumption, this partnership will
allow us to reach out to a larger audience and offer them a platform
to taste wines without any inhibition. At Pizza Hut one can now enjoy a
meal with friends and family over a glass of wine in a casual and
A boon for wineries
To cut down the production cost and help marketing of wines, Nashik is
forming the country’s first wine cluster with subsidy from the state and
central government. As the first step towards this, the All-India Wine
Producers Association on Tuesday formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV).
The SPV would be an independent ROC- registered company looking after
the interest of the shareholders. The wine cluster is expected to receive investments to the tune of Rs 15
crore to Rs 20 crore from the the central and state governments and
shareholders of the cluster would come from the 35 existing wineries in
Hi-tech facilities that will reduce production cost and maintain high quality in wine making
The objective of the cluster is to enable members to use the
hi-tech machines under one roof to help them produce international
quality wines. The shared resources should also lead to a decrease in
the production costs which will bring down the market price too. Wineries are also looking at byproducts such as pure grape spirit brandy
and also plan to set up juice concentration centre to reduce surplus
volumes which could be used at a later date and a marketing centre to
help wineries label products.
More: Financial Express
Abhay Kewadkar, Chief Wine-Maker & Business Head – USL (Wines):
“Zinzi is an easy-drinking wine that has been made keeping in mind the
first time wine drinkers, and fashioned in a way that attracts the
consumers to the world of wines and makes it more accessible. Our aim is
to make Zinzi an everyday beverage that can be enjoyed anytime without
debating on the price or place.”
Zinzi – a wine specially designed for the young and uninitiated
consumer - is now back in Karnataka at a new and attractive price. The
wine that has so far been available in Karnataka at a price of Rs.450/-
for 750ml will now be available for Rs.291/- for the same bottle! The
375ml will be priced at Rs.145/- down from the existing price of Rs.
240/-. This significant reduction in price per bottle will make Zinzi
very affordable for the consumers. The new price will allow more new,
young wine drinkers to engage with Zinzi. Zinzi will help break the myth
that wine is only an elitist’s drink, and introduce them to the world
of wines through the world of Zinzi, in an exciting and fun manner.
The price reduction has been possible due to local production of Zinzi, which was earlier produced in Baramati, Maharashtra; thus relaxing state tax.
Zinzi comes in two varieties, ZINZI RED and ZINZI WHITE. Zinzi Red is
a delightful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grape varieties
that pairs well with any choice of food, be it pizzas or chicken tikka.
It is best served at a cool 16ºC. Zinzi White is suited for a casual
mood, and is charming blend of classic Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc
and can be best enjoyed chilled at 10ºC. Zinzi comes in two convenient
sizes – 375ml and 750ml bottles.
More: Business Standard
Aspri has been expanding its portfolio frequently and each time bringing a jewel from the jeweled crown of wines available all over the world. Here they bring one gem from the Languedoc region.
Aspri Spirits celebrated the introduction of “Gerard Bertrand” – the top wine brand from the Languedoc Rousseau region from South of France at a special tasting.
With twenty-five million Indians drinking wine today, the French would like to get into the act as fast as possible. They have joined hands with Aspri Spirits one of India’s leading importers and distributors of premium wine and spirits. Jake Jacob, Regional Director – Asia-Pacific & UAE, gave an overview of Gerard Bertrand Wines – one of the most renowned wine group from Languedoc Rousseau region of France.
Aspri Spirits has introduced eight labels from the Gerard Bertrand range namely Domaine de l’Aigle Chardonnay Single Vineyard, Domainae de l’Algle Pinot Noir 2007 Single Vineyard, Chateau L’Hospitalet Reserve Rouge AOC, Chateau L’Hospitalet Reserve Blanc AOC, Speciale Reserve DOC Chardonnay, Speciale Reserve DOC Cabernet Sauvignon and 6eme SENS Blanc (Grenache/Marsanne/Viognier), 6eme SENS Rouge (Syrah/Grenache/Merlot).
Gerard Bertrand has risen to the top of the quality pyramid in the south of France thanks to the efforts of Gérard who suddenly found himself at the head of the family winery after his fathers passing in 1987. Determined to continue in his fathers footsteps Gérard invested heavily in the upgrading and expansion of the family business. Today, the Gérard Bertrand wine company is a leader in the quality French wine movement and a pillar in the production of the very finest wines from the Languedoc region. Gérard’s father, the late Georges Bertrand, formed the Bertrand family winery in 1965.
Today the brand own five single estates and more than 330 hectares of vineyards situated in different appellation areas of the region. Having achieved unparallel success in the region with over seven of heir wines having received over 90 points on Wine Spectator, Gerard Bertrand was awarded the best value winery from France by Wine Spectator and has also been nominated as ‘European Winery of the Year’ by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Gerard Bertrand has also founded the world renowned Jazz festival – Chateau l’Hospitalet. A five day Jazz extravaganza that sees participation from world renowned artists.
Priced between ` 1550/- to ` 3425/- in Mumbai the wines are solely imported and distributed by Aspri Spirits in over 10 cities in India and are available at all leading hotels, restaurants and select outlets across the country.
Speaking on the tie-up Jackie Matai, Director Aspri Spirits Pvt Ltd, said, “Aspri Spirits believes in providing India with the finest brands across the globe. In keeping with our brand promise we always like to partner with the best brands from renowned wine regions. Gerard Bertrand is one of the top brands from France and this association is very exciting for us. We are looking forward to giving Indian consumers a fine French experience and confident about its success in the country”.
Speaking on the occasion, Jake Jacob, Regional Director-Asia-Pacific & UAE, Gerard Bertrand Wines said, “Gerard Bertrand has earned the reputation of being one of the most defined wines. We are involved right from detailing of the grapes from the vineyards to the packaging of the wine. Today, India is one of the fastest growing wine markets and we wanted to establish our presence here. We were looking for a company that has the potential of taking our brand to the elite consumers in India and I am very confident that Aspri Spirits with its large distribution network and a nose for the classes will contribute towards making this brand great success in India”.
Having developed one of the largest sales and distribution networks in India, Aspri Spirits Pvt. Ltd today covers over 22 major states. With focus on star category hotels, restaurants, bars, up market wine shops and duty free segment, Aspri Spirits Pvt. Ltd. is all set to increase its presence through other avenues and new markets.
Commenting on the event, Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, Aspri Spirits said, “South of France is among the fastest wine growing region in both quality and prestige. I personally believe that Languedoc Rousseau region offers great quality and best value. Gerard Bertrand is among the top players from the region and has shown great promise across the globe. We are very positive that Indian consumers will appreciate the wines that we have selected from the long portfolio of Gerard Bertrand”.
According to Gerard Bertrand, owner, Gerard Bertrand wines, “We at Gerard Bertrand take great pride in having created a niche for ourselves in this competitive market. Today the Gerard Bertrand brand has become synonymous with quality which has made us one of the top rated brands globally.
During the 60s my father, Georges Bertrand was the first to recognise the potential of the Languedoc region in the South of France leading to the inception of wine making for us at Gerard Bertrand.” He further added “While there will be no substitute for a good quality wine, today selling wine is also about distribution and marketing. With the growing numbers of Indians taking to wine drinking it is only natural for us to establish our presence here and who better to do thatthan Aspri Spirits. We are confident that our association with them will give the brandthe exposure it merits and we hope the Indian consumers are able to enjoy different offerings from Gerard Bertrand.”
About 30 million litre of wine is sleeping in the tanks of Maharashtra wineries left unsold. In 2007, experts predicted a 20 % growth in Wine consumption every year. In the year 2008, McKinsey Global Institute came out with a bold prediction that India will outstrip Italy and Germany in consumption by 2025.
What happened now? With numerous new wineries coming up every year, with a huge increase in production, the consumption trend doesn’t sound promising. Now negative predictions are coming out with reverse in trend of wine consumption.
Every year, the unsold wine stock is accumulating rapidly. Thousands of tonnes of grapes are left on the vines, banks are calling their money in from wineries bled dry, and winemakers are agonizing over their future. With poor domestic consumption, the only solution is export. But the fact is there is already a global surplus on “quality wines”.
Beer and brandy consumption is increasing rapidly every year and this is no good for wine. All I can do is just to laugh out loud while saying about Indian brandy. Brandy is derived from Dutch “brandewijn” meaning “Burnt wine”. But poor Indian people have access not to this Brandewijn, but to flavoured, coloured rectified spirit.
The whopping unsold wine is forcing the wine manufactures to find a quick solution for their very survival. The All India Wine Producers association is looking to form wine clusters and to distill surplus grapes. They are demanding for “Pot still distillation policy” to liquidate excess wine.
The good news is India is going to produce premium brandy, and We Indians are not far away to taste the real brandewijn. Maharastra Government has already agreed to issue three licenses in Nasik, Pune and Sangli regions have agreed to think on such a policy after gauging the response to these clusters. I hope, the government will come out with good decision to bail out struggling wineries.
Siyamalan Subramanian About me: I am a Wine Science student at University of Auckland & I am maintaining the websitewww.wineindia.in
Mumbai, December 9, 2010: AMBROSIA, the magazine of the alcobev industry, a publication of Sap Media Worldwide Ltd. organised the sixth edition of INDSPIRIT 2010, India’s premium alcobev event, which was attended by the who's who of the liquor industry. The annual trade exhibition allows top liquor/beer/wine companies to showcase their products and effectively reach their target audience. This year the event was pursued on a grand scale with many more exciting opportunities on offer. INDSPIRIT 2010 was held in Mumbai at Intercontinental, The Lalit on 3-4 December, 2010.
Here are details of some of the most exciting things that INDSPIRIT 2010 had to offer:
THE INDSPIRIT 2010 PUB CRAWL: We kick-started INDSPIRIT 2010 in Mumbai with the Mega Pub Crawl on Saturday, November 27, 2010. 70 people joined us as we raised our glasses across – HQ, Soul Fry Casa, Soul Fry and Café Goa with 2 Buses, 2 bands and unlimited FUN!
ALL INDIA BAR TENDING COMPETITION: From November 22 to November 30 the Ambrosia team travelled across Delhi, Bengaluru, Goa and Mumbai to find the Bartenders who can whip up the best cocktails in various categories like Whisky, Tequila, Brandy/Vodka. The top three finalists from each city faced each other at the Finals which were held at INDSPIRIT 2010 on December 4 at Intercontinental, The Lalit, and Mumbai.
Also for the first time Ambrosia hosted the Inter-Collegiate Bartending Competition during INDSPIRIT 2010 on December 3.
Winners received cash prizes and a trip to Scotland.
The winners of the All India Bartending Competition are:
Gaurav Jadhav from Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott, Mumbai - 1st Prize (Trip To Scotland), Sandeep Seth from Delhi - 2nd Prize and Hardeep Mann, China House, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai - 3rd Prize
The special Winner in the flair category is Rahul, F Bar and Grill, New Delhi.
The winners of the Intercollegiate Bartending Competition, Mumbai are Alok Ravindran from Elphinstone College and Keshav Agarwal from Atharva College.
This is year’s INDSPIRIT exhibition had active participation from the wine industry. With the presence of the Indian Grape Processing Board through the Indian wine producers like Rajdheer Wines, Red Wing Wines, India Food Company, A.D.Wines, Chateau Indage and wines from United Breweries Ltd, Nine Hills Wines grabbed a lot of interest. Importers Riona Wines and Aspri Spirits displayed their range of wines to the visitors. For the first time INDSPIRIT had the Bordeaux Amazons Group- a group of women from the right bank of Bordeaux showcasing their range of wines in India.
AMBROSIA 2010 CONFERENCE: The conference was held on December 3 with the theme “The Challenges & Opportunities in the Alcobev Industry". Speakers were: Mr. Ashok Sinha, Hon. Secretary Food Processing Ministry, Government of India; Mr. Ashok Capoor, Dy. President, United Spirits Limited; Mr. Edwin Atkinson, Director General of The Gin & Vodka Association of Great Britain; Mr. Val Smith, Chairman of The IWSR, London.
We also had a very interactive panel discussion on Alcobev Branding moderated by Ms. Preeti Vyas, Chairwoman-VGC (Vyas Giannetti Creative). The panel included Mr. Amrit Thomas, V.P. – Marketing, United Spirits Limited; Mr.Rahul Gagernar, VP-Marketing, Radico Khaitan Ltd.; Mr. Vivek Bhargava, CEO, Communicate2, and Mr. Anirban Das Blah, MD & CEO, Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt Ltd.
INDSPIRIT BEER OLYMPICS 2010: We invited 10 teams each with 5 brave souls who could not only hold their liquor but also perform fanciful feats of skill and dexterity to compete against other teams. The Chugg Relay, Flip Cup,
Beer Pong and Quarters competition took place On December 3 and 4, 4.00 to 7.00 pm at INDSPIRIT and drew in the crowds.
INDSPIRIT TASTING & APPRECIATION SESSIONS: The tasting sessions were well appreciated by all who attended as the experts took visitors deep into the history, culture and origins of their favorite spirits. A complete treat for lovers of Wine, Beer, Cognac and Liqueur, who wanted to experience a deeper understanding of alcohol. The sessions were conducted by professionals like Alok Chandra, Ajit Balgi, Sumedh Singh Mandla, Alex Postelnek and Sunita Kanga.
AMBROSIA AWARDS 2010: One of the most coveted awards for the liquor industry; the awards felicitate the best across categories like Product, Person and Special Achievements. This year there was the introduction of a new category - Top 10 Most Powerful Brands in the Alcobev industry. These brands were selected by an eminent jury on the basis of Strategy/Innovation, Brand Influence, Brand Power and Aspirational Value. The Awards had Ernst & Young as the process auditors and official tabulators and will be telecast on CNBC TV18. In the Connoisseurs Choice wine category, Reveilo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve emerged as the winner.
As entertainment model Anupama Verma choreographed a stunning three sequence display of designer Jatin Varma’s latest designs.
Some of the Ambrosia Award winners were:
• MARKETER OF THE YEAR:
Mr. Amrit Thomas
Executive Vice President – Marketing, United Spirits Ltd.
• LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
Mr. L. Srihari Khoday
Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Khoday Group of Industries.
• BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR:
Mr. Deepak Roy
CEO & Executive Vice Chairman, Allied Blenders & Distillers Pvt. Ltd.
For a complete list of categories and the winners visit: www.indspirit.in
This year again the post monsoon, unseasonal rains have been causing havoc in the grape growing region of Maharashtra including Nashik, Baramati and Sangli, destroying the crops and causing Downey mildew which if not controlled will affect the quality, and with no hope for the growers to expect higher prices for the remaining crops which might be 30-40% lower than last year they are a troubled lot, writes Subhash Arora.
It has been raining continually for weeks now making it difficult to assess the damage. Ravi Gurnani, Director of the small -sized York Winery informs delWine, ‘the rains have been quite persistent. They've been a lot more than last year for November -December. So I expect yields to be low again-maybe even lower. Still a wait- and- watch situation as it may rain again.’
Although most of the grape growing area has been hit by rain, some people have been luckier than others. Yatin Patil of Vintage Wines, makers of Reveilo wines, belongs to this category. Fortunately, we had pruned just in time and flowering has started-we might have lost around 5% of the crops.’ Was it his planning that saved him? ‘No, it was just plain luck,’ says Yatin who owns 100 acres of vineyards and along with his wife Kiran, known for his passion for quality wines.
Rains spell bad news for grape growers but it may not be as bad for the winery owners who are still saddled with high inventories and tanks full of wine due to the recession. Rajeev Samant, CEO of Sula says, ‘The news is bad- 30% crop loss so far and may rise further. This after 50% loss last year! And expenses have shot through the roof because of additional preventive sprays against downy mildew. For the first time bunch rot is also a possibility. Unfortunately it is very bad for the growers but not so bad for the wineries. The problem of oversupply is correcting itself very quickly.’
Jagdish Holkar, President of the All India Wine Producers Association is more pessimistic about the expected devastating effect of the crops. ‘I think about 60-65% crops have been damaged. The loss has not been as harmful to wine grapes as the trellis systems like Vertical Shoot Positioned (VSP) being used here are protective against rains but eating grapes have been very badly hit. ’ He adds, ‘rain had been damaging last year too but this year it was also much stronger.’ He expects fruits in about 2000 acres to be destroyed out of the total of around 8000 acres.
‘The farmers were already dreading the slump in terms of purchase by the wineries as had happened last year but they have already been struck with this ‘asmaani’ attack before that time’ he says while reiterating the demand of the Association for interest rate reduction for the growers and wineries to 8.5-9%; this has been apparently promised by the government and politicians on many occasions but never implemented. He expressed anguish at the indifference and lip-service of the government and bureaucrats towards the nascent industry.
Rain effect on quality
So how will the quality of the crop be affected this vintage? There is a consensus that cost of pesticides will be undoubtedly at least three times the usual to handle the mildew problem. With increased humidity causing Downey mildew, there is a difference of opinion among the growers on how much the quality would be affected. While most agree that unless the onslaught of the unusual rains continues, the mildew was still controllable, Holkar is not as optimistic. ‘There is a limit to how much it can be controlled and I think the quality of the grape will be affected and one would have to be selective,’ he says.
Abhay Kewadkar, Business head and Chief Winemaker of Four Seasons Winery in Baramati says that although Sangli may not have been as badly affected as Nashik, the whole of Baramati taluka has suffered badly. He estimates bigger loss of white grapes than the red. He places the loss at 25-30%, ascertaining the quality would need to be watched and there is still uncertainty about it.
Price Factor for Vintage 2011
And what will be the effect on prices, one wonders. Unfortunately for the farmers, no vintner feels that the wineries would be affected much as the growers will not see a jump in the price like they did a couple of years ago. In fact, there is a lack of empathy for the growers at the moment for the simple reason that a couple of years ago when the industry was in an expansion mode with unprecedented demand the farmers exploited the situation, breaking all agreements and contracts that became worthless-and the wine quality also suffered. The prices shot up from Rs.20-25 a kg to as high as Rs.40-45 with an ever- growing opinion that the growth of Indian wine industry may be restricted because of shortage of grapes.
‘Last year the prices went down to as low as Rs.15 a kg, with many farmers obliged to let the fruit drop,’ says Abhay. This kind of fluctuation does not bode well for the industry. And how can the wineries respect the agreements when the demand is down?’ He however hopes that the maturity would set in after this cycle and both the growers and wineries will learn to respect the agreements. He expects the prices to be Rs.20-25 a kg for Chenin and Rs.25-30 a kg for Sauvignon with the reds averaging also around Rs.25 kg-more or less the prices that existed 3 years ago.
Gurnani of York Winery also feels there will be no increase in price. He says, ‘our prices are fixed with the contract farmers, so we won’t be affected. As for the freelancers, many of them have actually removed their vineyards. So despite the loss of yield due to the rains and the resulting shortage in grapes, I don’t foresee a rise in prices due to the existing glut of wines.’
Kewadkar is uncertain of the quality of grapes at the harvest time. In fact, he says ‘we are watching the quality before deciding how much to buy and produce this year. We shall take a call in January only after looking at the grapes. I am afraid the proper maturity of grapes might be an issue, like it was last year for Viognier which we had to reject due to improper maturity.’
Gurnani agrees. He says, ‘we will only know the effect on quality once the bunches start to get fuller and reach towards maturity. One of the converse effects is that the lower yield can potentially give more concentrated fruit.’
While it is too early to assess the damage due to the unseasonal rains which are more devastating than last year, better estimates will be available in a few days-provided the rain calls it a day. Statements made by politicians including the recently installed Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan indicate that some help package might be available to those who have suffered damages, including grape crops. But for the moment rains have spelt troubled for the grape growers of Maharashtra.
The current wine-making season in Maharashtra has done little to boost the sagging spirits of wine producers in the state. A whopping 30 million litre of unsold wine is bound to leave them high and dry, forcing them to significantly reduce crushing targets for the next season. Winemakers say even if they manage to sell half of this in the coming season, there’s not much they can do with the rest, considering that the government has been ***-footing a policy suggestion that would enable distillation of the surplus grapes and excess wine into brandy.
With the new season beginning December, over 9,000 acre of wine grapes have already been planted. This means around 45,000 tonne grapes would be available for crushing next season. However, the current surplus would ensure that less than half of this, i.e. 20,000 tonne, is crushed, resulting in another excess.
The issue of surplus wine compelled the All India Wine Producers Association to bring wine manufacturers in the state together to form wine clusters and distill the surplus grapes and excess wine into brandy on a pilot basis. Three clusters have been planned in Nashik, Pune and Sangli.
The association has been demanding a permanent “pot still distillation policy” for surplus grapes and to liquidate excess wine stock. At a recent meeting held between the association and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, state finance minister Sunil Tatkare and state excise minister Ganesh Naik, the Maharashtra government agreed to issue three licences in Nashik, Pune and Sangli regions and have agreed to think on such a policy after gauging the response to these clusters. Around 32 wineries are part of the Nashik cluster that had been planned with an investment of Rs 25 crore. The Centre would put in 70 per cent of the funds while 10 per cent would come from the state government with wineries putting in the rest.
The remaining two clusters are expected to come up in the next one and half years.