The Indian wine industry is coming of age. The country was recently invited by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) to be part of the worldwide process to decide on international labelling norms and standardising Codex specifications for the industry globally. Yatin Patil, president, All-India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA), who is back in India after attending the meet in Paris, said several discussions are now taking place for consolidating a set of norms for processing aids and additives in wines as well as understanding labelling norms. He was nominated by the Ministry of Food Processing to represent Indian interests and perspectives at the meet.
OIV, a group of government bodies of elected member countries, currently has 46 members with Armenia being the latest addition. India joined the OIV in July 2012 and became the 44th member of the organisation. The member states represent 85% of wine production in the world. OIV director general Jean- Marie Aurand recently visited India when the issue of India’s membership to the OIV was discussed and the Indian membership has been renewed.
In India, FSSAI is following Codex specifications. OIV is an observer in that organisation and is likely to be appointed in the Codex committee for additives. While codex standards regard food safety, OIV standards are benchmarks for correcting the faults in wine and improving the quality of wines.
The OIV is an inter-governmental organisation of a scientific and technical nature of recognised competence for its works concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins and other vine-based products and is based out of Paris.
India is the fifth-largest producer of eating grapes and resins. Adhering to international standards – which OIV helps establish – is very important for exports. Although India’s production and consumption is still low, Consumption is increasing and in 10 years India is expected to be a big player in the wine sector. At present, almost two of every five bottles consumed in the world are imported (over 40%). Ten years ago it used to be 25%. The increasing international trade has made the international wine standards very important and India could derive a lot of benefits by being actively involved in the working and deliberations.
Earlier, India had also attempting to join the WWTG (World Wide Trade Group) of Washington DC, an informal grouping of industry representatives from wine-producing countries. India participated as an observer in an important meeting of WWTG in Washington around three years ago. While the OIV membership helped India get access to the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge about vines, wines and grapes, WWTG members that include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the US can help India in trade.
Patil said that the 40th World Congress of Vine and Wine and the 15th General Assembly of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from May 29 to June 2, 2017 and India is expected to attend this meet. There are around 110 wineries in India (including 72 in Maharashtra) with the industry size being pegged at around Rs 2,000 crore. However, Supreme Court’s decision to ban sale of liquor along the highways is a setback.
According to Rajdheer Jadhav, a wine industrialist from Nashik, around 70% of the hotels and restaurants are located along highways and ban of this nature would affect the industry badly. Jagdish Holkar, former chairman, India Grape Processing Board, said wine should be treated differently and the Indian Tourism Board should also look seriously into the issue as this could adversely impact the country’s tourism.