The river Godavari flows through many parts of Nashik. So does wine. Now, in order to spread around the joie de vivre, vintners in the district are planning to make it simpler for tourists to savour the beverage described as ‘bottled poetry’ by RL Stevenson. 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 government requesting it to grant land where the winemakers can set up restobars.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Jagdish Holkar, president of MWPA, said, “We are doing everything to promote wine tourism. In a meeting held with winemakers recently, we decided to look into the beautification of Vinchur vineyard (see box: About Vinchur), a wine park created by the state government. Since 2000, the beautification of the park has been ignored. Realising the potential of wine tourism, we have decided to give it our undivided attention.” Vinchur is spread over 151.35 hectares in Nashik.
Need for promotion
When asked about the restobar plans, Holkar confirmed that the association is going to request the government to provide some land for the same. “There are many unpretentious wine producers who need to be promoted well. Restobars can help us popularise them among wine lovers. Our initial plan is to have restobars in Nashik, which can help us woo wine aficionados and tourists to the valley. We will be following the international model of wine promotion,” added Holkar.
Belting the grape!
The association is making visits to countries that are doing well in the wine industry. “We recently visited Canada and what we saw was amazing. Near the renowned Niagara Falls, we saw many winemakers running restobars. Anybody and everybody going to the falls will stop by at one. Why can’t we follow the same model? We can promote trekking and leisure tourism here in Nashik,” explained Holkar. Vintners from Sangli believe the move will be beneficial. “Tying up with leading food chains and serving domestic wines is not everyone’s cup of tea as the cost involved is too high. But, if the space is granted to us, we can definitely think of going bigger. There is urgent need to promote domestic wine in the state and this could be the way to go,” said one of them.
Wooing with wine
Recently, the MWPA also requested the tourism department for a wine club in Vinchur-Nashik. Jagdish Holkar, president, MWPA said, “We have made a request to the corporation. If they can come up with a wine club, it will help us promote wine tourism. The plan is just in the initial stages and there is still some way to go.” Jagdish Patil, MD, MTDC, said, “We are contemplating public-private-partnership in the tourism sector. Tourism, as an industry, has immense potential for growth in the state. We’ll be doing this for wine tourism too. We will be writing to the govt, discussing the same.”
>> 52 km from Nashik; spread over 151.36 hectares
>> Located in the heart of the grape-growing area
>> 98 plots developed for winery activities. Average plot size is 2.000 sq mt
>> Mother winery unit has been set up