The area under grape cultivation in Karnataka has more than doubled in seven years, to 20,400 hectares in 2013-14 from 9,700 hectares in 2007-08. The production of all kinds of grapes has increased 98 per cent to 331,800 tonnes during the period. The Karnataka Grape Processing and Wine Policy of 2007 played a major role in this development.
Karnataka has also seen fourfold growth in cultivation of wine grape during the past six years, from 500 acres to 2,000 acres. During this period, the state has also emerged as the second largest producer of wine grape and wine after Maharashtra. Wine production touched 7.5 million litres in 2013-14, while Maharashtra stands at top position with 20 million litres per annum.
The policy facilitated the setting up of a Karnataka Wine Board for the promotion of wine grapes. The awareness among farmers has increased manifold, resulting in cultivation of wine grapes, said G V Krishna Rau, additional chief secretary.
Six years of intensive efforts by the state government through the horticulture department and Wine Board, has made it the second largest producer of grapes and wines in the country. It contributes 13.2 per cent of the national grape production.
Maharashtra grows grapes on 90,000 hectares, with an annual production of over two million tonnes, according to the National Horticulture Board. Overall, grape is grown in 118,000 hectares in the country, with an annual production of 2.50 million tonnes.
“Congenial agro climatic condition in Karnataka helped cultivation of grapes, and farmers are making best use of the situation by growing grapes for several decades. However, marketing of fresh grapes proved to be a major challenge. In this direction, we are organising an international wine festival to spread awareness among consumers, as well as farmers on the importance of growing wine grapes,” said B Krishna, managing director, Karnataka Wine Board.
In order to provide better marketing linkage to farmers, the Wine Board is facilitating contract farming and providing assistance to growers and wineries, he said.
In Karnataka, the grape growing and wine production area is divided into three main zones such as Nandi Valley (seven wineries), Krishna Valley (nine wineries) and Cauvery Valley (one winery). There are 190 wine taverns and 39 wine boutiques in the state.
To further promote cultivation of grapes and encourage wine consumption, the Wine Board is organising Bangalore International Wine Festival in Bangalore from July 25-27.