The wine industry is in a state of crisis, as the production and sale of the liquor has hit its worst phase in the last 10 years. And yesterday at a meeting held with the state government, the parties present put the blame for the bad phase on the 26/11 terror attacks. According to the state government and wine producers, the horrifying terror attacks that shocked the city to its core in 2008, have affected the wine production and business that was witnessing steady growth.
However, this claim made by parties concerned is real food for thought, as in the past vintners have blamed the excise duty and heavy service tax charged by restaurants as a factor leading to their downfall. At a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at Mantralaya, the All India Wine Producers’ Association headed by Jagdish Holkar contended that as the tourist inflow had reduced owing to security issues following the terror attacks, hotels have experienced a substantial plunge in sales of wine. They also complained that since the terror attacks left a pall of gloom on the hospitality industry, there were fewer people out in hotels and restaurants.
They complained that the industry is passing through one of its worst phases and this has severely affected the livelihoods of 84,000 families engaged in the business. Recent figures reveal that as many as 22 wineries across the state owe a whopping Rs 8.85 crore to the grape producers who supply grapes for the wine manufacturing. The available figures showed that till November 20, 2011 the state registered Rs 72 crore worth sale of wine out of which Rs 14.5 crore went towards the state kitty through various taxes. Out of that, Rs 11.8 crore was given back to wine producers through subsidies and the state government only benefited with Rs 2.7 crore.
And in an attempt to correct this downward spiral, wine producers present at the meeting demanded for more SOPs to sustain through this tough phase. One of the demands made at the meeting was to reduce the import duty on wine being imported from Karnataka, as it would serve them better in the long run. The wine producers also asked the government to allow them to open wine bars, cafes and reduce the licence fee to open such centres and supply wine at Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation resorts.
MiD DAY had reported last month that wine manufacturers from Nashik are mooting a proposal to have wine restobars in India's Napa Valley. This, they believe, would help promote domestic wines, which are yet to gain a foothold in the competitive international market. The Maharashtra Wine Producers' Association (MWPA) has decided to send a proposal to the state requesting it to grant land where the winemakers can set up restobars. Recently, the MWPA also requested the tourism dept for a wine club in Vinchur-Nashik.