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VINEYARDS TO VINIFICATION: THE VIRILITY OF VIN

Arun Kumar Sharma, Assistant Professor – Food & Beverage Service, Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad (IHM-A), Maharashtra carries an extraordinary mélange of experience in hospitality industry and academic. He has almost 25 years of experience in Food and Beverage Operations across various properties inside the Taj Hotels and has over 13 years of experience in teaching at IHM-A focused on Wine and Food. The Tata Group has 160 hotels with 25,000 employees and 20,000 rooms, all over the world; however, IHM-A is the only premier institute that caters to the professional needs. Arun has been consecutively conferred with the Best Faculty Award for 2015, 2016 & 2017. He is a Diploma in Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Bachelor of Science (Hospitality & Tourism), Master of Science (Hospitality & Tourism) and Level 2 Certified for Appreciation by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Arun’s meteoric rise from Bartender to Restaurant Manager and Banquet Manager to Assistant Professor, IHM-A accentuates his aspiration for growing up the value chain while leaving behind the footprints of excellence. In an exclusive interview with The Interview World, Arun unfolds the nuances of vinification and its serving to the connoisseurs.

#1. What are the suitable geographies in India for growing vines?

Wine grape production in India only came into existence in the 1980s. This seems #winemaking in India is at a very nascent stage compared to 2,000 years in Germany. Out of 123,000 acres of vineyards in India, only 1-2% area or 1,230 – 2,460 acres is used to produce wines. Sham Chougule, the man behind the wine festival and the owner of India’s biggest wine producer, Château Indage, wanted to change the paradigm of winemaking in India. Earlier, there were five major wine producing regions in India including Nashik, Pune, Bangalore, Hampi Hills, Bijapur and Northern Karnataka; however, over a period wine grape cultivation has expanded to the states like Madhya Pradesh and J&K.

#2. What are the major varieties of grapes grown in India?

The varieties include grapes that ripen early in the season, those that are early to mid-ripening, mid to late ripening, and, of course, the late-ripening grapes. The ones you choose will depend on your region and preference. The economic life of a grape plant is up to 13-16 years. Grape plants take 3-4 years for bearing fruits. Out of the above-mentioned grape varieties, Thompson Seedless accounts for a total of 55% of the grapes that are grown in India, followed by Bangalore Blue at 15% and Anab-e-Shahi & Dilkhush at 15% respectively.

#3. What are the key benefits of drinking wine?

Responsive drinking of wine has several benefits. Wine is rich in antioxidants, lowers bad cholesterol, keeps heart healthy, regulates blood sugar, reduces the risk of cancer, helps treat common cold, keeps memory sharp, and keeps you slim. Majority of wines contains upto 14% of alcohol, which is not harmful while taking in controlled amount.

#4. What’s the status of wine tourism in India?

In Nashik alone 70 wineries are operational. People from across the country and from abroad visit these wineries. The wineries provide a comprehensive tour to the visitors to their vineyards and winemaking units. The tourists prefer to take Indian brands because the locals back home are eager to taste these varieties. They provide them at least six varieties of wines to the visitors in just Rs. 350. It’s a superhit among all age groups.

#5. What’s the per capita consumption of wine in India?

The consumption of wine in India is too insignificant compared to the consumption in European countries. For example, in France the per capita consumption of wine is 6 litre per annum, while in India it’s just 5 ml (one spoon). Now people are getting aware of the benefits of drinking wine. The most interesting factor is that India has started exporting wine to countries like Japan.

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