ITANAGAR, July 20 � Wine lovers in Arunachal Pradesh can look forward to enjoying high quality country-made kiwi wine soon.
Pune-based Hill Crest Foods & Beverages Pvt Ltd on December 13 last year had inked an MoU with the Arunachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing & Processing Board (APHPM&PB) for producing kiwi wine.
After introducing the country to the concept of fruit wines like pineapple and strawberry, Pune-based Rhythm Winery, a part of Hill Crest Foods and Beverages, is all set to launch its first kiwi wine.
The company is sourcing over 2.5 tonnes of kiwi fruits from Arunachal for brewing the wine. Arunachal produces more than 4,500 tonnes of kiwi fruits every year.
�The soil and climatic condition of the State are suitable for kiwi fruits cultivation and out of 18 lakh hectares area for horticultural crops, three lakh hectares are estimated to be suitable for kiwi cultivation in the State,� APHPM&PB managing director Tage Tatung disclosed.
As per data for the year 2011-12, the area under kiwi cultivation in Arunachal was only 3,027 hectares with a production of 4,541 metric tonnes.
According to the MoU, the revenues from this business will go to the APHPM&PB while Rhythm Winery is only a service provider working on project basis.
�We will finance the full cost of the project amounting to Rs 18,84,000 as per project proposal submitted by Hill Crest,� Tatung said.
�The Board�s main objective is to promote and add value to the kiwi production which will help the fruits production in Arunachal offering new avenues to growers,� Board deputy manager R Sindhu said. He said that around 70 per cent of kiwi fruit is not utilised properly in the State and goes waste.
�The first batch of 3,000 litres of kiwi wine is likely to hit the market later this month,� State Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi said.
Negi said the kiwis produced in the State were of the same grade as New Zealand kiwis and only the inferior quality would be used for making wine. The best qualities would be used for consumption and making juices.
�We are planning to set up a kiwi culled unit in Bhalukpong area and such units would come up at Pasighat and Ziro too in a phased manner to avoid wastage during transportation to Pune,� Negi said.
�The Rhythm Winery will sell it under the brand of �Arun Kiwi� in Maharashtra and Arunachal and the kiwi wine is priced at Rs 470 for a bottle of 750 ml and Rs 270 for 375 ml bottle,� said Akalpit Prabhune, MD of Hill Crest.
�Kiwi wine is mainly produced in New Zealand. The quality of fruit produced in Arunachal is excellent. Moreover, it has a flavour and a right balance of sweetness and acidity. The Board has funded the initial cost of Rs 25 lakh for this project. We will produce about 3,500 litres of kiwi wine in the current year,� he said.
According to Prabhune, the fruit wine market is still in a very preliminary stage and will pick up in the next five years. �The kiwis that we have in the markets are imported from New Zealand because of which they are sold at a very high price. But few know that some of the best quality kiwis are produced in Arunachal. But due to lack of infrastructure, the government has not been able to reach the markets of other States,� Prabhune said.
Unlike other wines in the market which can only be consumed with a certain kind of food, kiwi wine can be had with any kind of cuisine � Indian or continental, and in any season or weather as the wine has a very light and smooth flavour. � PTI