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Bangalore bonds at first wine fest

It was the perfect setting - the salubrious locales of Lalbagh, accompanied by pleasant weather - the city could not have asked for more to kick-start its first wine festival!

india Updated: Jul 10, 2009 20:17 IST

It was the perfect setting - the salubrious locales of Lalbagh Botanical Garden, accompanied by pleasant weather - the city could not have asked for more to kick-start its first wine festival Friday.

Connoisseurs got a chance to sample white, red and rose wines brewed in the state at the inaugural day of the three-day colourful fiesta, conceptualised by the Karnataka Wine Board on the lines of popular wine festivals in vogue in developed countries.

The festival was inaugurated by Horticulture Minister Umesh V. Katti and legislator D. Hemachandra Sagar.

"Wine is a healthy drink, if enjoyed in a moderate manner. Wine has very little alcohol percentage. It leaves drinkers with no hangover," said L. Shantakumari Sunder, development commissioner and chairperson of the wine board.

Along with free tasting of wine, a seminar was part of the first day of the festival to educate farmers, industrialists and public about wine cultivation, production and contract farming.

Opportunities available in the state were also highlighted at the fiesta.

Wine lovers thronged the stalls of various wineries.

"We're getting good response from the crowds. Visitors are very adventurous and want to taste different kinds of wines," said Sunil Doshi, manning the stall of Kinvah, a winery based in Nandi Valley.

Added Jayakumar, senior marketing executive at Naka winery in Bangalore: "The festival is an eye-opener for wine makers, fruit cultivators and wine lovers."

The visitors were clearly an excited lot.

"I accidentally bumped into the festival. But it's a pleasant surprise and I am enjoying every glass of wine," said Sussane D'Souza, a tourist from California.

IT professional Bittu Nair found it "simply fabulous".

"It's beyond my imagination to see large number of people getting an opportunity to enjoy wine under the sky," Nair said.

Karnataka has 600 acres under grape cultivation, with Nandi Valley in Chikkaballapur and Krishna Valley in Bijapur with the highest cultivation.

The state also produces approximately 18 lakh litres of wine annually, second only to Maharashtra's one crore litres. In 2008-09, Karnataka exported around three lakh litres to the rest of the country and abroad.

The government recently amended the Karnataka Excise (Lease of Rights to Retail Vend of Wine) Rules, 2008, to facilitate setting up of wine boutiques.

Shopping malls, super markets and multiplexes with not less than 15,000 square feet floor area will be allowed to have wine boutiques.