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Red wine is passé. Raise a toast to date palm wine from Rajasthan

Rajasthan will soon be producing date palm wine made through a process of natural fermentation. And coming up soon after are pomegranate and citrus wine.

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Wine lovers, take note. Rajasthan will become the first state in the country to produce wine from date palm. A winery set up near Mount Abu in Sirohi district in southern Rajasthan will later develop wine from pomegranate and citrus fruits also.

Agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini said the winery has been established as per an MoU signed during Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in 2016 in Jaipur. “We changed the excise policy of the state to set up the winery. We will soon have wineries for pomegranate and citrus fruits,” he said.

Gujarat date farmer Harpreet Singh (30) has set up the winery in Rajasthan. He said he could not set it up in his native state because Gujarat is a dry state.

Date palm farming began in Rajasthan in 2007-08 when the state imported around 21,294 tissue culture raised saplings from the UAE. Cultivation was done on 135 hectares of government farms in Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Next year, the saplings were given at a subsidised rate to farmers in 12 districts across arid desert regions of northwestern Rajasthan, such as Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh, Sri Ganganagar, Nagaur, Pali, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Sirohi and Churu.

Interestingly, date palms take 4 to 8 years to bear fruit. Rajasthan grows seven varieties of dates — Barhi, Khunezi, Medjool, Khadrawy, Khalas, Zamli and Saggai — on 840 hectares. The yield this year was around 1,600 tonnes. “We will make wine from the Barhi variety of date as it has to be consumed as a fresh fruit. The other varieties can be dried and made into pind khajoor,” said Singh, adding that the wine will be made through natural fermentation and no spirit will be added.

The winery plant is also expected to boost tourism in Rajasthan. Tourists can come and view the process of manufacturing and even do wine tastings.

Source: Hindustan Times

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