Wine passion, escalates itself in Shillong

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Shillong, Nov 09 (UNI) If wine is passion, Shillong is a goblet. The fifth consecutive ''Shillong Wine Festival'', being organised by the Forever Young Club in this hill city, is more than just a festival, it is universal romance.

'' Fabulous. Nothing like this I have experienced before, '' said young Anungla Walling from Nagaland while sampling the local brand of wine, passion.

Passion, a juicy fruit indigenous to Meghalaya, is fermented for long to turn it into one of the most sought after wines in the world today.

The wine festival continued to draw connoisseurs from several parts of the country and abroad sipping to glory at the forelawns of the Eldorado Complex.

'' Such festivals in India can be organised only in Shillong, given the climate and ambience, '' said Naomi Rocher, a tourist and wine buff by nature from the United Kingdom.

Ginger, mulberry fruit, strawberry, litchi, pineapple, passion fruit, blackberry, plum, banana and even jackfruit have been fermented to produce a sensual variety of wine for the festival.

'' The ginger wine we make is soothing to a soar throat and is appropriate for the cold climate in Shillong, '' said Angel Marbaniang, a former Principal of a college.

Michael Syiem, the brainchild behind the unique festival, told UNI that with abundance of local fruit throughout the year, which are either decomposed or sold cheap, the Forever Young Club has decided to add value to these fruit by brewing wine which could very soon lead to viable cottage industries.

'' With South East Asia gradually emerging as a free market, Meghalaya could soon emerge as a major exporter of locally made wine, '' Mr Syiem opined.

Echoing Forever Young Club objective, local wine-maker John Khongwir, for whom wine making is a hobby, opined that the state should be declared as a cottage industry by the Meghalaya government.

'' The government should promote home winemaking so that wine made of locally grown fruit can be exported outside the state, '' Mr Khongwir said.

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