US-based liquor major Brown-Forman, known in India for its Jack Daniel's bourbon and the low end Fetzer wines from California, debuted its organic wine Bonterra last week.
India has already had a taste of organic wines — Mas de Daumas Gassac in The Imperial New Delhi had first participated in the food and wine show, IFOWS in 2002. Italian Bianco di Custoza DOC is another such wine.
Bonterra will aim at a wider market. Daumas Gassac has only 100 acres in the Languedoc region of France while Bonterra has 1200 ha in California 's Mendocino County . It plans to sell its range between Rs 700-Rs 2,500 in restaurants and hotels in the metros.
"It is priced in the mid range bracket. The idea was to make it more affordable and accessible for the average person," said Amrit Kiran Singh, Area Director, South Asia , Brown-Forman
In US, organic wines have already gathered momentum. Sale of organic wine (certified as containing no added sulfites) as well as wines made of organic grapes increased by 28% to $80 million in 2005, according to the Organic Trade Association. Brown-Forman, like many other conglomerates, has added an 'organic' niche to their portfolio.
David Koball, their iconic wine specialist came to India to talk of biodynamic wine cultivation at the Bonterra vineyards. Thinking of innovative methods to make good wines from grapevines free of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers has been his specialization for the past 13 years. "Organic wine has become quite popular in the US and UK as they contain no chemical residue. It's even safer for those employed in organic vineyards, as they are free of pesticide poisoning," he said.
'We honour the land by farming organically, creating rich soils and providing healthy vines the opportunity to deliver wonderfully flavoured fruit. Organic farming creates wines of great taste and excitement,' he added.