Nashik, Oct 19 (UNI) Nashik, known as the wine capital of India, had registered a whopping 60 per cent growth in wine consumption during the last three years, while the country was laggard with 25 per cent growth.
Thane and Nashik districts are in the forefront of wine manufacturing and consumption. Rather the growth in consumption was nearly 100 per cent during the last year, said Rajeev Samant, CEO of Sula Wines, pioneer of the wine industry in Nashik, in an interaction with media persons here yesterday.
The growth in wine consumption was supported by various policies of both the Maharashtra and Central governments. These include permission for the easy process of wine manufacturing and ease in rules for retail sale of wine, he said.
These factors have propelled the growth in consumption of wine among people, he said.
''The overall progress of wine industry started in 1999. When I first came to Nashik, there was not a single acre of land engaged in cultivation of wine grapes. Now, around 3,000 acres of land is engaged in production of wine grapes in Nashik. In the rest of the state, 200 acres of land was engaged in cultivation of wine grapes, which has now gone up to 5,000 acres, Mr Samant said.
In the next season, around 2,000 more acres of land will come under grapes cultivation, thereby increasing the total land mass to 7,000 acres which will produce grapes in Maharashtra. Sula wines will make an agreement for nearly 1,500 acres of land out of the total land under cultivation, he said.
The state has 51 wineries at present, out of which, Nashik alone has 32 wineries. In 1999, at the onset of winery in Nashik, Sula wines had 1.5 lakh litres of wine production capacity. However, it now boasts of 50 lakh litres. It exports wine to various countries abroad, including France, which is the largest wine producing and consuming country in the world. The company holds 25 per cent share in the export and domestic market in the country, Mr Samant said.
''According to our expectation, till 2010, nearly 16,000 acres of land will come under grape cultivation in the state. With this, farmers can get Rs 250 crore income for 5 ton per acre production of grapes at the rate of Rs 30,000 per ton,'' he added.
On the occasion, he appealed the people to invest in land to cultivate wine grapes.