Monday, July 26, 2010

‘Dry’ Mizoram to produce wine after 13 years

AIZAWL – After 13 years of prohibition, grape cultivators in Mizoram are expected to produce quality wine by September this year.To pave the way for the manufacture of wine, the stringent dry law in force since February 20, 1997 was relaxed by an amendment made in the Prohibition Act, April 2007, allowing upto 16 per cent of alcohol in it.Managing Director of the Grape Growers Society Vanlalruata Chenkual said that wine-making would be monitored by experts from wine major Shaw Wallace.The wine to be manufactured in the two wineries at Hnahlan and Champhai, he said, would contain 14 per cent of alcohol volume by volume.The wine to be made from Lubrusca variety of grape also known as Bangalore Blue would have a brand name of ‘Zawlaidi’ meaning love potion in the Mizo language.He said that the fermentation of the grapes in the two wineries would begin on July 16 and Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) imported from Uttar Pradesh would be used to neutralise the sour taste of the grapes.“We expect that we will be able to produce at least one lakh 750 ml bottles of premium grape wine this year, he said, adding that they would only be sold in Mizoram.In Hnahlan village 80 per cent of the total population of 670 families were engaged in producing grapes and 325 in Champhai area.“To make the wine competitive and conform to international standards, experts from Shaw Wallace would train and guide the local wine makers,” Samuel Rosanglura, the State Horticulture director said.The price of a bottle of ‘Zawlaidi’ was yet to be determined as it was still not yet decided how much the State Excise and Narcotics department would levy excise duty, he said.“We are appealing to the State Government to give exemption on excise duty as the wine is to be made from horticulture produce,” he said.He said that it would be a good incentive for the grape growers if the government arranged a tax holiday for a few years at least. – PTI


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