Saffron govt's burgundy fair

Saffron govt's burgundy fair

Three-day mela at Lalbagh to offer variety of wines

Contrary to the tradition of the state's horticultural department offering grapes to customers at cheaper rates, the state-owned Karnataka Wine Board would sell wine at concessional price in a three-day mela for the first time starting from July 10.
Scheduled to be held in Lalbagh, the mela will offer white wine, red wine and rosy wine brewed in the state. Visitors would not only get a chance to taste it, but can also buy the wine for lower prices. While a 750 ml bottle of wine costs Rs 400, the Board is yet to decide on the discount it would offer.

The mela's primary objective is to educate farmers, industrialists and the public on wine production, Additional Chief Secretary and chairperson of the board L Shanthakumari Sundar said at a press conference on Monday.

Last week, the government had amended Karnataka Excise (Lease of Rights to Retail Vend of Wine) Rules, 2008, to facilitate setting up of boutiques for selling wine. This has made it possible for customers to carry wine outside, which they were prevented from doing in the taverns set up to sell wine in government premises.

Shopping malls, super markets and multiplexes with not less than 15,000 sq. ft floor area will be allowed to have boutiques. The Chairman mentioned that the license fee of Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 has been fixed for taverns and boutiques respectively.

Grape wine has been cultivated in the state at a total area of around 600 acres, with Nandi valley  in Chikkaballapur and Krishna Valley  in Bijapur having the lions share of it. Presently four companies have been producing wine in the state and five more are expected to join them soon.

Wine production may be a far cry from places where it has a long-standing tradition, but even Karnataka's saffron government can't seem like a good excuse to stop the reign of Lord Backus. Not only the state produces 18 lakh litres of wine, it quite incredibly exports three lakh litres of it to other states and to foreign nations.

What might be pleasing to residents of the state and the righteous occupants of its government is the fact that Karnataka stands second in wine production and marketing in the country.

Only the neighbouring Maharashtra -with one crore litre production- is ahead.

Highlights

*  Mela to educate people on wine production  
*  Three-day wine mela at Lalbagh from July 10 (10 am to 6 pm)
*  Wine production in state in 2008-09: 18 lakh litres
*  A bottle of 750 ml of wine costs around Rs 400
*  Maharashtra produceas 1 crore litres of wine a year
*  Karnataka stands second in terms of wine production in India

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