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  Beat city’s October heat with juicy grapes, thanks to innovation

Beat city’s October heat with juicy grapes, thanks to innovation

Published : Oct 17, 2016, 1:18 am IST
Updated : Oct 17, 2016, 1:18 am IST

Fresh table grapes will now be available from the end of October, owing to experiments carried out by grape growers in Nashik district, the largest regional producer of grapes in the country.

Khanderao Shewale at his vineyard in Nashik
 Khanderao Shewale at his vineyard in Nashik

Fresh table grapes will now be available from the end of October, owing to experiments carried out by grape growers in Nashik district, the largest regional producer of grapes in the country.

Earlier, grapes were available only in late December, and this late October harvest is a recent phenomenon.

Harvesting of these grapes will begin from October 25 in the district’s Kasma belt, which comprises the tehsils of Kalwan, Satana, Malegaon and Deola bordering Khandesh, according to grape farmer Khanderao Daulatrao Shewale.

“We experimented by pruning leaves three months earlier (cutting of leaves is a perquisite for the grape berries to form). This year we started pruning on July 1 and our harvest will be out by October 25,” said Mr Shewale, who resides in Bhuyani village of Baglan tehsil, where his vineyard is also located.

Meanwhile, pruning of most of the vineyards in Maharashtra began from October 15 and fruit from these vines will be harvested in late December. In some areas, the pruning was delayed due to rain in some parts of the district. The major grape harvest in the state is in December and this crop is exported.

The yield or acreage of October harvest is similar to the general harvest taken in late December — 12 to 15 tonness per acre, which comes down as the vine becomes older — the vine remains productive for 30 years but generally farmers use it till 18 years.

Maharashtra Drakshya Bagiatdar Sangh (MDBS) Nashik divisional president Manikrao Patil said that, Kasma farmers would get a good yield. “There are about 4,000 to 5,000 acres of vineyards in the Kasma belt.

We calculate an average yield of 8 tonnes, which means we may get a harvest of 35,000 tonnes this month,” Mr Patil said.

“As these October harvested grapes will be available out of season, there is a premium on the price. However, prices will not be very steep, as this harvest is generally not exported and available mostly for domestic consumption. Secondly Chile has a monopoly in the October export markets as its grapes are also available,” Mr Shewale said.