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Raising a toast to experts

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 01:19 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

Farmers from the state will soon be able to take winemaking lessons from some top international winemakers.

In a move aimed at giving the wine trade a boost in the state, the government on Monday announced the setting up of two wine institutes in collaboration with foreign partners.

The first wine institute will come up in Sangli district, but the location of the other is still to be decided.

The announcement was made by Minister for Non-Conventional Energy and Horticulture Vinay Kore at MAHAWINE, a two day exhibition-cum-conference on grapes and wine in Pune.

Winemaking as an organised activity is still nascent in the country, and many wineries in the state are forced to employ foreign experts.

A novice winemaker can expect to make Rs 30,000 per month while an expert can draw a salary running into lakhs of rupees.

“We are planning to open two wine institutes in the state with joint ventures (JV) with foreign institutes, so that they can impart different training programmes in wine-making and also carry out research works,” Kore said.

The government is still scouting for foreign partners, who will also share the task of deciding on the syllabi for the proposed courses.

Though no timeframe has been set for the project, Kore said they were hoping the first institute would begin functioning in a few months.

There have been various attempts at setting up a wine institute in the state, all of them restricted to the private domain. This is the first time the government has taken steps towards setting up a wine institute.

“The institutes will be an asset to the state’s wine industry, training people to take full advantage of the growth potential of this sector,” said Pralhad Khadangale, chairman of Nashik-based Vinsura Wines.

Nearly 60,000 hectares of land in the state is under grape cultivation.

The high cultivation levels have led to the state having 58 of the total 62 wineries in India.

The wine business is worth close to Rs 250 crore in the country.