India now has its own organic wine – a first for the country – made from kiwi fruit – another first! ‘Naara-Aaba’ became the first pure kiwi wine in India after its launch in 2017. Unlike most wines that come from vineyards in western India, it hails from Hong village in Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Apatani, a major tribe in the north-eastern state, cultivate and produce nearly a quarter of India’s kiwi output; so it was but natural that they hit upon the idea of a wine – this time free of any chemicals.
The ISO-certified wine has 13% alcohol by volume. It contains vitamins C, B1 and B2; along with calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.
“The wine is an indigenous innovation of a man who could foresee a beautiful end of his imagination in a divine fruit called kiwi. For the hardworking and fun loving people of Ziro valley, it is a gentle wake up call to learn new and modern ways to utilise their vast lands,” says the official website of ‘Naara-Aaba’.
Owing to lack of road-rail-air connectivity, however, it is available only in Arunachal and neighbouring Assam. The fruity wine is priced at Rs. 1,200 in Arunachal Pradesh and Rs. 1,500 in Assam. Smaller bottles are priced at Rs. 600 and Rs. 800 respectively.
An enterprising group of farmers in Bordi, in Palghar district of Maharashtra (bordering Gujarat), have managed to come out with the first-ever wine made from pure chikoo extracts, offering an outburst of tropical flavours. The renowned Dahanu-Gholvad chikoo holds a Geographical Indication since 2016.
There were several problems with chikoo: its high pH, short shelf life and uneven nature of ripening. But since chikoo juice retained the major flavour of the fruit, the farmers employed its very strong ambient yeast for fermentation after juice extraction. Hence was born the chikoo wine in 2011.
The manufacturer, Hill Zill Wines, now offers the 2016-vintage Fruzzanté chikoo wine in 330-ml bottles at Rs. 255. It has similar offerings in pineapple, garden spice and mango (all Rs 255), along with a desert wine (375 ml), called
Arka Honey, at Rs. 1,050. These are available in select retail and restaurants in Mumbai and Thane districts of Maharashtra.
According to its website (www.hillzillwines.com), an award-winning commercial wine maker and author, Dominic Rivard of Canada, is the father of these wines.