Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shillong Wine Festival held after 2 years


“Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy” – These famous words of Scottish physician Alexander Fleming, who discovered the world’s first broadly effective antibiotic substance, perhaps aptly describes the all pervading passion at the Shillong Wine Festival, held on Saturday after two consecutive years of suspension due to the pandemic.
Connoisseurs at the festival, held at the foregrounds of the Office of the Scouts and Guides here today, sampled a variety of locally made wine from ginger, mulberry fruit, strawberry, litchi, pineapple, passion fruit, blackberry, plum, banana and even jackfruit, that were fermented to produce a sensual variety of wine.
“The ginger wine we make is soothing to a sore throat and is appropriate for the cold climate in Shillong,” said a wine maker, who has been fermenting wine in the backyard of her house in the city.
Indigenous to a myriad species of fruits and vegetables, Meghalaya can be appropriately classed as a “horticulture” state.
“The age-old hobby of wine making with the local people can gradually grow as a cottage industry and then commercialized into an industry, which would automatically boost the economy of the State,” feels Michael Syiem, president of ‘Forever Young’, organizers of the Wine Festival.
Syiem expresses his gratitude to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for having legalized wine making in the state.
“After 17 years of engaging with the government, in September, 2020, wine making was legalized in Meghalaya and now we can sell wine in the open and even export to other countries,” Syiem said.
“Wine making, which has already picked up, will further grow with boost in the tourism sector and there are lots of applications from aspiring local wine makers pending with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for license,” he informed.
Syiem said that many visitors from outside had come in for the Wine Festival in the city on Saturday.
“It can help solve the problem of unemployment in the state as not much investment is required for wine making. Lots of fruits are just falling and rotting on the ground,” he pointed out and iterated that wine making has a “lot of potential” in the hill state.
“The homemade wines in Shillong is excellent. This is one industry that the State government can push forward taking advantage of the abundant natural resources,” said Anungla Walling, who came all the way from Calcutta just for her ginger wine.

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