The question why wild banana was a favourite of elephants made Pankaj and Ritu Awasthi in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh to experiment with the fruit in making wine from it.
The sugar content of bananas make it the best ingredient for making wine says, Pankaj a post-graduate degree in chemistry with a two-year degree in alcohol technology from the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur.
Pankaj says he was delighted with the taste of banana wine, which he is aiming to patent, after he first brewed it seven years ago.
Pankaj's product 'Ritus Home Makers' Banana Wine' bagged the first slot during Goa Wine Festival in 2003 and the Delhi Wine Festival in 2004 organized by the Wine Association of India.
It was also adjudged the best for three consecutive years from 2005 at the Shillong Wine Festival.
"Though kiwi, apple, pineapple and orange wines are good, the banana variety is highly appreciated," says Pankaj.
"It usually takes 45 days to ferment and prepare the product," he says, claiming that it has high demand in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Goa and the North East.
So far the couple has prepared around 500 litre of banana wine on demand from various individuals and companies with the price ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 15,000 per bottle depending on the quality and period of preparation.