The freezing temperature brought cheers to wine grape farmers and wine makers while the table grapes growers are reeling under huge losses
With the severe cold wave, witnessed across Maharashtra, taking toll on the grapes production in Nashik, you may not be lucky to get those sweet-sour-tangy fruits, or pay extra to relish them. Instead, a glass of wine, would make up for your sacrifice.
The freezing temperature has cheered the wine makers, while the table grapes growers are reeling under huge losses. Reason? The vintage 2012 of wine grape is all set to raise the quality of Indian wines. At the same time, table grapes that are consumed by everyone, have lost their leaves and subsequently its sugar content due to cold conditions.
Nashik district of Maharashtra, popularly known as country's wine capital, accounts for about 75% of the total national production of grapes. While the table grape crop destroyed is as high as 70%, there is very little impact on wine grapes. Instead, experts see this production as one of the best in recent times.
"Since last two years harvest has been bad due to unseasonal rains. During the souring and berry stage (ripening) the harvest was attacked by lot of diseases. This year, winter has helped for healthy produce. Though the production has not seen any increase and the harvest was delayed, the quality will definitely be one of the best we had seen. Wine grape, this year, will have perfect balance of acidity and sugar, essential for making high quality wine," said Sachin Darawade, operational manager, York Wine.
Concurs Avik Narula, assistant operational manger, Fratelli Wines, the only vineyard in Nashik located on a hilly terrain. "The crushing for this season has already begun. This year's quality is very fine."
Past two years has been bad for the sector. With unseasonal rains playing havoc, there was 30-40% loss in the production. Subhash Arora, a wine expert and director of Indian Wine Academy writes, "After three miserable years for the Nashik growers suffering vagaries of nature and unexpected, out-of-season rains in November resulting in extra labour costs and extensive damage to the crops, the region has seen a perfect weather that is expected to yield both higher quality and quantity than the last three years."
Mr Arora says that according to Neeraj Agarwal, chief viticulturist at Sula Vineyard, Nashik, Sula had a crop of 5,000 tons from its own vineyards and the contracted farms last year but expects a bumper crop of 6,000 tons and that too with excellent quality.
Meanwhile table grape growers are in bad state. According to a media report, preliminary estimates indicates that farmers in the Nashik are have suffered losses of about Rs1,300 crore. The table grape has been affected mainly due to the shedding leaves of the plant and the decreasing sugar sap in the fruits.
Kailash Bhosale, official from Draksha Bagaitdar Sangh, Nashik, says that, "Due to falling temperature, the water remained on the leaves and fruits, resulting in formation of ice. Leaves were damaged and eventually led them to shed. Some places have seen losses up to 90%. At the grape orchids, where harvesting is still pending, loss of leaves will result in lower sugar content."
When asked on why wine grapes are not affected, Mr Bhosale explains that, "Wine grapes, unlike table ones, are grown without using any hormones. For table grapes dipping and spraying of GA is essential, hence they get affected in extreme weather condition."
So if you are a grape lover, then this time instead of eating grapes, enjoy your wine- red or white, whichever you like!