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Wine Board plans wine park in Bijapur

Mahesh Kulkarni  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

Measures initiated to increase area under cultivation of wine grapes to about 5,000 acres by 2015

In an effort to give an impetus to the production of wine and encourage wineries in the state, the Karnataka (KWB) is planning an integrated wine park, the first of its kind in South India. The state government recently allotted 141.28 acres at Toravi village, 8 kms from Bijapur to the KWB for the proposed park. Bijapur has been selected for the wine park as the district is well known for growing seedless grapes in the Krishna Valley.

“The aim of developing the Wine Park is to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in wineries and provide a better market for growers in and around Bijapur district. The KWB is preparing a detailed plan for executing the Wine Park. It will have all activities like the manufacture of wine, research and development, and training among others,” Vandita Sharma, principal secretary, department of horticulture, Karnataka, told Business Standard.

She said, the department would float tenders very soon inviting the private sector to inv-est in the proposed Wine Park. A transaction advisor is also being appointed. The proposed Wine Park will provide common facilities to the private sector like laboratory to test the quality of grapes, a centre of excellence, among others to help both farmers and entrepreneurs.

The private sector will be invited to invest in wineries in this park and they will be offered a lot of incentives as per the wine policy of the state.

Grape cultivation was introduced into Karnataka during the 18th century by the Nizams of Hyderabad. Today, almost 20 districts grow grapes of different varieties on over 17,500 hectares while wine variety grapes are grown on about 2,000 acres. KWB has divided the state into three valleys — Krishna, Cauvery and Nandi. The total production of grapes has cross the 300,000 tonnes mark annually. The KWB has initiated measures to increase the area under cultivation of wine grapes to about 5,000 acres by 2015, K G Suresh Chandran, managing director, KWB, said.

“The per capita consump-tion of wine in India is estimated at 10 ml per person per year and if we want to increase it to 100 ml per person there is a need to manufacture 120 million litres annually. Presently, the wine production in India is estimated at 15 million litres. Of this, Maharashtra alone contributes 13 million litres, followed by Karnataka and other states,” Chandran said.

He said, since the introduc-tion of the wine policy in 2007, the number of wineries in the state has risen to 14 with an annual production of about 2.5 mil-lion litres. The KWB has projec-ted wine production at 5 million litres in the next two years. Already, five more wineries are in the pipeline and more capacity addition is expected with the revised wine policy being introduced later this year, he said.

“The idea of encourag-ing more wine production is to provide a better market for our farmers which are prese-ntly resorting to the distress sale of grapes as the shelf life of the fruit is only six days.

So, farmers are going in for their conversion into raisins which has limited market opport-unities. It would be better for the farmers if we can encour-age them to diversify into wine production. It is good for both farmers and the wine indus-try. With this purpose in mind, we have proposed to set up a wine park in the state,” Chandran added.

First Published: Mon, February 27 2012. 00:52 IST