Predictions for food and drink trends have revolved around local produce for a while now. It’s no surprise then that fruit wine has entered the radar of people in India. Himachal Pradesh has been the epicentre of fruit wine production in the country, but other states are slowly catching up.  

The company Minocha Industries has been prominent with regards to producing fruit wine. Located in a small town called Shoghi on the outskirts of Shimla, Minocha Industries, owned by Girish Minocha, is known for its juices. Today, the company sells 7-8,000 cases of fruit wine under the Wonder Wyne label. Varieties include peach, apple, apricot, strawberry, cherry, kiwi and pear. These wines are priced at a humble ₹130-₹160 a bottle (retailed at ₹150-₹220). This is mainly because excise duty in Himachal Pradesh is only around Rs.4 a bottle for an alcohol level up to 11.4%. Locals in the state use fruit like apricots and apples for alcoholic brews called ‘chulli’ and ‘ghanti’. 

‘Ghanti’, which is not clarified, is often a favourite during community celebrations like weddings. However, the process of making other types of fruit wine at Minocha Industries is similar to that of grape wine. The juice from the fruit is first fermented, then aged, filtered, bottled, chilled and sold in bottles.

Fruzzanté, a brand that specialises in sparkling fruit wine, has operations in Maharashtra. The company was founded by Priyanka Save, who has overseen the production of more than 25,000 bottles since the brand’s launch in 2017. Fruzzanté’s wine does not need added sugars as the diluted juice of the fruit is enough to achieve the concentration of alcohol required. The fruits used for making this wine are sourced directly from farmers to maintain quality standards. The wine ranges from chikoo, starfruit, mango, strawberry, pineapple, to orange flavour. It is also vegan and gluten-free.

In September 2020, the Meghalaya government legalised the commercial sale of locally made wines. Earlier, brewing wine at home was legal as long as it was for personal use and sale was considered a grey area. Meghalaya has an abundance of pineapple and passion fruit, and producers longed to use these for the production of wine.

All of these are huge strides for Indian wine-making. It’s also the right time for Indian fruit wine producers to experiment with this trend as local produce has been in the limelight and indingeous ingredients are being given the respect they deserve, now more than ever.