India is slowly becoming a country that is embracing the new trends in the alcohol and beverage industry. We have several whiskey, rum, and gin brands known for their quality and popularity. Regional alcohol varieties like toddy and handia also hold a special place in the hearts of the locals. Given India’s rich tradition of local alcohol, it’s only natural that new local brands would emerge. One such brand is Kerala’s very own wine, named Nila, which is poised to make its debut.

A Glimpse of Nila’s Journey to Market
Oenophiles In India are about to savor the delightful fruit wines from Kerala through “Nila.” It has received the green light from Sul wine yard, India’s leading wine manufacturer in Maharashtra, and the approval of the grape and wine board of the Karnataka government. Interestingly, the first 500 bottles of Nila have already made their way to ministers and other VIPs, giving them a sneak peek before the official market launch.

Kerala Agriculture University’s Pioneering Efforts
This unique wine has been meticulously crafted by the Post-Harvest Department of Kerala Agriculture University, making it the first university in the state to secure a wine-making license from the excise department. Once all the remaining formalities are completed, these wine bottles will be made available through the Beverages Corporation, offering flavors like banana and pineapple, all at an affordable price.

Expert Tips for Alcohol Preservation
As we eagerly await the arrival of Nila in the market and the opportunity to savor its fruity flavors, here are some valuable tips for preserving your spirits at home:

  1. Store spirits upright to maintain seal integrity.
  2. Keep bottles away from direct sunlight to prevent deterioration.
  3. Seal bottles tightly to avoid evaporation and oxidation.
  4. Invest in quality stoppers to prevent air infiltration.
  5. Store spirits away from strong-smelling substances.
  6. Consume spirits within a reasonable time frame.
  7. Consider a wine cooler or cellar for larger collections.
  8. Avoid overcrowding your storage area for easier access and safety.

Kerala’s Foray into the Wine Culture
India is gradually embracing new trends in the alcohol and beverage industry, and Kerala, though relatively slow, is no exception. While there are already several whiskey, rum, and gin brands available, the traditional beverages like toddy and handia continue to be cherished. Therefore, the introduction of Kerala’s forthcoming wine brand, Nila, is expected to make a mark as it reaches the market soon.

The Backing of Sula Vineyard and the Karnataka Wine and Grape Board
Nila has already gained the approval of Sula Vineyard, a prominent name in the Indian wine industry. Furthermore, it has been given the nod by the Karnataka Wine and Grape Board. Impressively, the initial batch of 500 Nila bottles has been distributed to ministers and VIPs ahead of its official launch. This select group, well-acquainted with fruit wines, plays a crucial role in the product’s success.

A Visionary Step Towards Supporting Local Farmers
Last year, the Kerala government promised a new liquor policy that would facilitate fruit wine production by issuing appropriate licenses, similar to those for distilleries. Fruit wine is made by fermenting fruit juice, distinguishing it from traditional wine. This policy aims to support local farmers, addressing the gaps in existing Abkari laws and excise rules, which did not account for fruit wine.

Efforts to Develop Fruit Wine Technology
Following the policy’s implementation, the government sought the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory’s assistance in developing a common technology for fruit wine production. However, private companies were later allowed to develop their own fermentation methods. Interestingly, Bevco, the government’s monopoly, has shown interest in producing wine as well.

Learning from Past Experiences
Diageo’s venture in 2007 to produce wine under the label Nilaya, though promising, ultimately faced challenges and folded within two years. With the local government’s support, Nila aims to succeed, even at an expected price of Rs. 1000 per 750 mL bottle, similar to grape wines, despite the inherent cost difference between fruit and grape wines.

9: Nila’s First-Mover Advantage
With a striking blue label, reminiscent of gin bottles, Nila, meaning “blue,” may not offer a heavenly wine, but with limited production and Bevco’s support, it sets the stage for wine enthusiasts to sample this new creation, potentially paving the way for more entrants in the market.

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