GRAPE CULTIVATION IN THE COUNTRY

Grape is grown under a variety of soil and climatic conditions in three distinct agro-climatic zones, namely, sub-tropical, hot tropical and mild tropical climatic regions in India.

Sub-tropical Region: This region covers the northwestern plains corresponding to 28° and 32° N latitude including Delhi; Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh; Hissar and Jind districts of Haryana; and Bhatinda, Ferozpur, Gurdaspur and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. Vines undergo dormancy and bud break starts in the first week of March while the rains arrive in the first week of June, and therefore, only 90-95 days are available from the initiation of growth to harvest. Consequently,Perlette is the only early ripening variety grown in this region. Rain damage is a problem with Thompson Seedless in this region. Single pruning and a single harvest is the accepted practice here.

Hot Tropical Region: This region covers Nashik, Sangli, Solapur, Pune, Satara, Latur and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra; Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Mahbubnagar, Anantapur and Medak districts of Andhra Pradesh; and Bijapur, Bagalkot, Belgaum, Gulberga districts of northern Karnataka lying between 15° and 20° N latitude. This is the major viticulture region accounting for 70 percent of the area under grapes in the country. Vines do not undergo dormancy and double pruning and a single harvest is the general practice in this region. Maximum and minimum temperature is 42°C and 8°C, respectively. The major problems in this region are soil and water salinity and drought. Berry growth is impaired and in certain locations pink blush sometimes develops on green berries due to temperatures that drop to a low of 8°C. Thompson Seedless and its clones (Tas-A-Ganesh, Sonaka), Anab-e-Shahi, Sharad Seedless and Flame Seedless are the varieties grown in this region.

Mild Tropical Region: An area covered by 10° and 15° N latitude including Bangalore and Kolar districts of Karnataka; Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and Coimbatore; and Madurai and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu fall in this region. Maximum temperatures in a year seldom exceed 36°C, while the minimum is about 12°C. Principal varieties are Bangalore Blue (Syn. Isabella), Anab-e-Shahi, Gulabi (Syn. Muscat Hamburg), and Bhokri. Thompson Seedless is grown only with limited success. Except for Thompson Seedless, two crops are harvested in a year.

Vinifera varieties susceptible to mildew suffer losses due to unprecedented rains during flowering and fruit set in both hot and mild tropical regions.

Area and production of different varieties of grapes in India is as follows:

 

Variety

Area (ha)

Production (t)

Anab-e-Shahi (white, seeded)

3,000

135,000

Bangalore Blue Syn. Isabella (black, seeded)

4,500

180,000

Bhokri (white, seeded)

500

15,000

Flame Seedless (red, seedless)

500

10,000

Gulabi Syn. Muscat Hamburg (purple, seeded)

1,000

30,000

Perlette (white, seedless)

1,500

60,000

Sharad Seedless – A mutant of Kishmish Chorni (black, seedless)

1,000

20,000

Thomson Seedless and its mutants (white, seedless)

22,000

550,000

Total

34,000

1,000,000

Approximately 85 percent of the total production, irrespective of the variety, is consumed fresh. About 120,000 tonnes of Thompson Seedless and its mutants, namely, Tas-A-Ganesh, Sonaka and Manik Chaman are dried for raisins. Some 20,000 tonnes of Bangalore Blue are crushed to make juice, and 10,000 tonnes of Bangalore Blue, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Uni Blanc are crushed to process into wine.

 

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