Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has granted operational approval to the manufacturing units of Hortiwine, a light alcoholic wine produced from fruits and other farm products. The new legislation Kerala Small Scale Winery Rules, 2022, that incorporates amendments recommended by the Assembly Subject Committee, has come into effect.
According to the new law, cereals cannot be used in the low-alcoholic wine manufacture. Though the rules allow large-scale wineries, there are none currently operational.
Hortiwine contains only up to 15.5% alcohol. Sale is allowed only through the outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation. For this, the manufacturers need to enter into an agreement with the Corporation.
Fruit wine manufacture will aid the farm sector. By locally producing low-alcohol liquor from local farm produces, the farmers can get higher income and job opportunities.
The farm produces that can be used to make fruit wine are jackfruit (ripe and raw), banana, papaya, pomegranate, guava, rose apple, nutmeg shell, tapioca, sugar cane, potatoes, pumpkin, and tomatoes.
The permissible alcohol limit for Hortiwine is 15.5%, same as that for grape wine. In contrast, the limit for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is 42.86% and for beer 6%.
Selling Hortiwine in Kerala might need new marketing tactics as wine sale does not even add up to 1 per cent of the total liquor sales in Kerala.
The person who wishes to start a winery is to first give an application to the Excise Commissioner.
Building, the process of wine-making, storage capacity, the availability of the fruits, and financial status are to be detailed in the application.
The technical committee chaired by the Deputy Excise Commissioner would consider and scrutinize the application.
The members of the committee are assistant director of the agriculture department, food safety assistant commissioner, assistant executive engineer of the Public Works Department or the factories and boilers inspector.
With the recommendation from the committee, the application is to be forwarded to the State Excise Commissioner.
The licence period is until March 31 in the third year and the licence fee is Rs 50,000. Another Rs 5,000 is to be paid for the bottling licence.
On finding any violation of license terms, a fine of Rs 50,000 would be imposed and the licence may be cancelled.