The festival is being organised in association with the Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation ( MTDC) with support from the All India Wine Producers Association, says Jagdish Holkar, one of the promoters of the company.
The third edition of the India Grape Harvest – Vine and Wine Festival is all set to be held from February 1 to March 11 in and around Nashik — the country’s wine capital. Promoted by a bunch of wine entrepreneurs who have formed a special purpose company under the name of Nashik Valley Wine Cluster to avail benefits from the Centre for industry clusters, the festival stretches into weekends over the month. The festival is being organised in association with the Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) with support from the All India Wine Producers Association, says Jagdish Holkar, one of the promoters of the company. Holkar is also a former president of the association and former chairman of the Indian Grape Processing Board ( IGPB). From January to April is usually considered the harvesting season for grapes and therefore an attempt is being made to promote wine tourism, he said, adding that this is the time when there are maximum footfalls to wineries in and around Nashik. The promoters have planned for four circuits — Niphad, Dindori, Nashik and Igatpuri. At present more than 12 wineries are part of the festival and more are expected to join, Holkar said. Sula Wines, Moet Chandon, Perno Ricard, Charosa Wines, Suma Wines, York Winery, Reveilo Wines, VIsur Wine Park, Grover Zampa are some of the wineries participating in the event. In 2016-17, the number of wine tourists to Nashik increased by 11% to 3.6 lakh as against 3.25 lakh in the previous year.
The wine tourism had slowed down during the last fiscal due to demonetisation and other reasons, but it has started picking up gradually, industry experts said. According to Holkar, the events have been planned during the four weekends with visits offered to wineries, cookery shows, agri tourism and music as part of the fest. The country has 95 wineries, of which 77 are in Maharashtra. Nashik district has 39 wineries. Major wineries in the district are Sula Vineyards, Soma, York, Vallonnie Vineyards, Grover Zampa, Renaissance, and Good Drops. Last year. there were attempts to offer wine tours on the iternary of the famous luxury train- Deccan Oddysey. Deccan Odyssey is a special luxury train modelled on the Palace on Wheels to boost tourism on the Konkan route. The train has several overseas travellers wanting to explore and get a taste of the Indian culture. The move was expected to boost wine tourism and also make the world familiar with Indian wines. India may not yet be a big destination for wine tours, but wineries in the Nasik region are certainly becoming popular for weekend breaks between December and March. Yatin Patil, president of the Wine Producers Association, said that the Association is supporting the festival which may increase footfalls to the region. Members have been informed to participate and offer wine visits, he said. Holkar said that this season, production is not expected to be much, without divulging figure, and said that area under cultivation has remained stagnant.