Now, savour some premium Mizoram wine

June 18th, 2009 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

By Syed Zarir Hussain
Aizawl, June 18 (IANS) Two wineries are being set up in mountainous Mizoram to produce wine from premium quality grapes and passion fruits grown locally.

“Specially-designed bottles will arrive soon and we are all ready to produce between 700,000 to 800,000 litres of high quality wine annually,” Mizoram’s horticulture department director Samuel Rosanglura told IANS.

Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh and known for its jagged peaks, lofty mountains and dense forests, produces the premium variety of Lubrusca grapes. Wine made from the fruit is said to be of high quality and commercially viable.

“The two wineries are being set up by a society formed by grape growers and the government is providing them with logistical support,” Rosanglura said.

The product is set to hit the market in two months under the brand name of Zawlaidi, meaning love potion in the Mizo language. A bottle of 650 ml of Zawlaidi will be priced at Rs.150.

The winemaking process will be monitored by experts from liquor major Shaw Wallace.

“To make the wine competitive and conform to international standards, experts from Shaw Wallace will train and guide the winemakers,” Rosanglura said.

Some 1,000 farmers in Mizoram grow an estimated 6,000 quintals of grapes annually in small to medium plantations spread over about 3,000 acres.

“Experts say wine made from grapes produced here could easily be marketed in the international markets. But for now, we will be focusing on the domestic market and then try to hit the global field,” Rosanglura said.

With Mizoram’s climatic condition suitable for growing the high quality Lubrusca variety of grapes that promise good returns, more and more farmers are setting up vineyards.

Locals make wine for domestic consumption or for sacramental use in churches.

The Mizoram government has now started imparting scientific training to grape growers as part of its plan to encourage them to shift from conventional farming to cultivating it as cash crop.

“Considering the high returns, one can expect the rural economy to take a major leap forward if proper attention is given to grape and guava cultivations. We would also make wines from passion fruits grown abundantly in the region to make the wineries viable,” Rosanglura said.

(Zarir Hussain can be contacted at zarir.h@ians.in)

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