Finally, surplus wine flies off racks

A sudden increase in demand has led to the clearance of 70 lakh litres of unsold wine

Finally, wine makers across the state are grinning from ear to ear. Thanks to rising sales after a lull of three years, the cellars are finally ridding themselves of surplus stock that have been lying there for years. In 2011, manufactures have managed to sell about 70 lakh litres, which had been left over from last year's 2.5 crore litres stock.

This is good news for the state's wine industry, which has been witnessing a prolonged slump in the past three years, during which more than 40 per cent of the local wineries have shut down, with farmers choosing to grow ordinary table grapes. Currently, only about 5,000 acres of land in the state is under grape cultivation.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Prashant Sankpal, managing director of Sangli-based Ritza Wines and a member of the All India Wine Producers' Association (AIWPA), said, "Thanks to the marketing strategies adopted by several wine makers, many were able to release their excess stock. Of the 2.52 crore litres of the surplus wine in the state, nearly 70 lakh litres has been sold this year, which is a good sign for the industry. Last year, 30 per cent less grapes than the usual quantity were crushed, thanks to which there was less surplus stock." Sankpal also revealed that by the end of this financial year, wine makers would be going international to promote Indian wines.

Marketing strategy
As reported by MiD DAY ('Fly the friendly skies with Indian wines', September 7), wine makers are already in talks with the Civil Aviation Ministry to allow the sale of Indian-made wines on international flights on a three-month trial basis. Besides, wine makers are also in talks with embassies and the defence sector, trying to rope them in to promote Indian wines.

New avenues
"We hope that by the end of this financial year, the pending stocks will move out easily. We are also hoping that very soon, the government is going to allow us to make Cognac and brandy from the surplus wine. If this proposal is finalised, then demand will exceed supply very soon," said another vintner from Nashik, adding, "Once we break even, we'll concentrate on grape cultivation again."

Stock               Quantity
(year)             (in litres)
2006-07          66.3 lakh
2007-08          10.5 lakh
2008-09          15.2 lakh
2009-10          2.52 cr

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