After introducing the country to the concept of fruit wines like pineapple and strawberry, city-based Rhythm Winery is all set to launch its first kiwi wine in India in the second week of July. The company recently joined hands with Arunachal Pradesh Horticulture Board from where the kiwis will be sourced in the city and will be marketed in Pune and Mumbai to start with.
Talking about the new venture, Akalpit Prabhune, Director, Hill Crest Foods and Beverages Pvt Ltd said, "The kiwis that we have in the markets are imported from New Zealand because of which they are sold at a very high price. But not many know that some of the best quality kiwis are produced in Arunachal Pradesh. But due to the lack of infrastructure, the government has not been able to reach the markets of other states."
Over a couple of years into the field of wine making, the company has gained enough expertise and during their visit to the horticulture department of Arunachal, they came up with the idea of making wines out of kiwis. "The major factors behind Arunachal not being able to make business out of this fruit is the topography and transportation which needs a great push. Another major challenge that the they face is the lack of proper storage units, because of which 70% of the kiwis go waste annually. Since we already have the expertise, we thought why not give a boost and make use of our own produce to make wines rather than investing in the products from New Zealand," explained Prabhune.
The basic requirements that are taken into account to make wine is that the fruit should have the right balance of sugar and acid content. And the kiwi has just the right amount of both. "Last year, the horticulture department sent us a small patch of kiwis out of which we made 100 litres of wine for testing purpose. And based on the testings, we sent them the final proposal, and we agreed upon a cost plan of 20 lakh which included transportation and marketing aspect," he said.
On why they have chosen Pune and Mumbai as their initial prospective markets, Vidita Mungi, Marketing Head of the company said, "Wine in itself is a new culture in India, and not many people are aware of the types and kinds wines. Our company being based in Pune, the people are aware of our other products and slowly, there is a lot of awareness happening among the people about wines. So we thought it would be viable for us to begin our pilot project from here and Mumbai, where again people have the knowledge."
According to Vidita, Pune with its growing cosmopolitan culture are more experimentative when it comes to offering varieties. Many people usually can't make out the difference in the tastes of wines. Most of the people don't like the bitter flavours. "So when we came out with the fruity flavours, they instantly changed their outlook towards wines. With so many flavours to choose from, we are not only giving them the variety but also the experience that each one of these wines have to offer," Vidita added.
Unlike other wines in the market which can only be consumed with a certain kind of food, Prabhune said since this one has a very light and smooth flavour, kiwi wine can be had with any kind of cuisine - Indian or continental, and in any season or weather. Though Ideally we recommend that it should be served chilled, but since the monsoons are approaching, they can be had at any temperature.
-Pune consumes 8 lakh ltrs of wine annually
-375ml bottle of kiwi wine contains 12% alcohol, priced at Rs 265
-Will be available in the market from July second week in all major restaurants and wine and beer outlets