Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fruit wines in Maharashtra

Two weeks ago I was really nervous, as my two year old home made strawberry wine was getting oxidized. Though it was home made, it had all the qualities of good wine like colour, clarity, aroma, taste and alcohol percent. But due to uncontrollable storage conditions at home, now it is getting spoiled.
I wish, I could store it for longer time. Alas...
That time I remembered that recently I heard about a winery which makes fruit wines. I had lots of questions in my mind, like, how fruit wines are made  commercially, what type of machines are used (crusher, filters etc.). also does that wine retains aroma and flavour during storage or ageing. (as fruit wines are delicate than grape wine.) 
I thought I should visit that winery.
so I had a word with owner/wine maker of Hillcrest winery, Mr. Akalpit prabhune (engineer by education, winemaker by passion). Last sunday I had opportunity to meet him at the winery, located at Dhayri MIDC, Pune.
Pune is one of the major wine making regions of Maharashtra, India. Here wine is well appreciated, so most wine events are also alsorganised in Pune.
Most fruit wines (mainly apple wine and recently added plum, peach and strawberry) are produced in Himachal Pradesh. Hillcrest winery makes pineapple wine commercially under the brand name Rhythum and recently they have launched their strawberry wine under same label.
winery is comparatively small, capacity is nearly 15,000 to 20,000 liters. Though it is small, it is clean and well maintained. Maintaining cleanliness in the winery is more important than actual wine making, because any microbial attack or contamination can spoil your wine and your efforts. 
I tasted both strawberry and pineapple wine. Both wines are fruity and sweet. In India wine culture is not that developed because of the weather conditions (In colder parts of the world like Europe, wine is part of daily diet) that's why most Indian consumers do not have a palate developed for wine taste. For them it is easy to start with a more sweet and less acidic wine, a bit like rose. Wines from Rhythm are exactly like this, so can be called as beginner's wines.

Strawberry wine:-
Strawberry wine's appearance is really interesting, completely blush resembling fresh strawberries. 
Brilliantly clear with no presence of sediments, any floaters or bits of cork (as wine is screw capped).
After swirling wine gives a rich fruity aroma of fresh strawberries. (Good aroma is an indicator of good wine).
The first sip itself gives you refreshing fruity, sweet taste with balanced tannins, making you long for another sip.
This light bodied wine (Light body: wine flavour does not stay in mouth for long) with 12 to 13% alcohol can set mood of any wine beginner.

Pineapple wine :-
The translucent pineapple wine looks much like Chardonnay (a pale yellow grape wine).
Aroma is ok with very small tinge of pineapple in it (I was expecting fresh acidic aroma like freshly cut pineapple).
This wine is much more on sweeter side (again, I was expecting fresh acidic flavour of pineapple). Still a tinge of pineapple is experienced in after taste.
This fresh sweet wine with moderate alcohol (12 to 14%) can surely be an icebreaker for people who want to start wine tasting.

As I have tasted both wines one by one, couldn't stop comparing them, and will choose strawberry wine over pineapple. But both of them have calibre to set the mood of party and create new wine lovers.

The winery visit was really good experience and it made me aware that even if I am making wine at home, maintaining wine has no less standards than a maintaining a winery. And efforts taken by the Rhythum are clearly seen in the both labels.
So give it a chance and start your journey of thousand wine bottles with sip of fresh fruity wine...


Monday, December 22, 2008

“Wine is bottled poetry”

“Wine is bottled poetry” said Robert Louis Stevenson.
First of all I want to clear one thing about wine, is ‘WINE IS WINE’. Please don’t refer it as liquor! Generally people consider it as hard or distilled liquor, something like vodka, whisky, rum, beer or simply Daru. But no! Wine is totally different from these things.
Now you will wonder if it is not any type of liquor then what is it. It is just ‘The product exclusively recovered from the complete or partial alcoholic fermentation of grapes or grape must’. (Conversion of sugar to alcohol).
It is not so that people are wrong; this is just lack of knowledge about wine. Even I am not exception for this. Before two and half years I used to consider wine as liquor, but now after completing the ‘Applied B.Sc. in Wine Technology’ (wine making course) there is drastic change in my opinion. Because I studied the science behind it, quality grape growing, standard methods of wine making, wine tasting etc. That’s why now I understand that wine is wine.
From ancient time wine has a medicinal importance. It is a health drink but, when consumed moderately. Medicine should be used as medicine; otherwise you know very well that what will happen! And what’s moderation? Well, moderation is defined as a glass or two each day, and no, you can’t save them up all week and drink all of them on the weekend. In fact, too much wine per day or per week can lead to negative health effects in many cases and rather than prevent disease.
Consuming wine in moderation daily will help people to die young as late as possible. ~ Dr Philip Norrie
There is an incident regarding wine in my life. The occasion was my birthday party, just few months after my marriage, and then party with drinks was totally new thing for me. At that time I didn’t know anything about beer, vodka or wine, I considered all those as liquor or in general language Daru. My husband ordered a Rose wine for me, a mild sweet wine. At that time I just tasted one sip of it for my husband’s satisfaction. I don’t even remember what that taste was? I just closed my eyes and sipped it.
Exactly after one year, on the same occasion, my husband brought me a Red wine bottle, that time I was so happy that he gifted me such a wonderful thing.
One not only drinks the wine but smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it talk about it.
That one year changed my opinion completely. Now I can taste wine without any hesitation, and even invite you to taste it.