Sula Wines has advanced harvesting of the 2007 crop to perhaps the earliest recorded time. They started the harvest of Sauvignon Blanc in one of their vineyard plots on December 25 th – almost a month earlier than the usual 20 th January. Time for harvesting of Chenin Blanc is being advanced to 15 th January- a couple of weeks earlier than usual. Similarly the time for reds (Zin, Cab and Shiraz ) is being advanced by 2 weeks, to February 15th.
‘We have advanced the harvest primarily by better canopy management,' said their viticulturist Dr. Neeraj Aggarwal to the President of Delhi Wine Club, Mr. Subhash Arora. ‘We advanced the pruning this year to September 1 st while we normally do it around 15 th -25 th September. The vigour has been excellent this year due to weather conditions,' he added.
Although India is in the Northern hemisphere, the harvest is more like in the Southern hemisphere- normally in Feb-April. Indian soil can yield 2 crops a year. Due to heavy rains in September, customarily the second crop is not harvested and the flowers on the vines are pruned away, according to Dr. Aggarwal, a Ph.D from the G B Pant Agricultural University, Pant Nagar. He has been working with Sula for 4 years. Earlier, he worked with Tata who had grown wine grapes in Dindori on experimental basis.
‘The early pruning helps us advance the harvest. One day of delay in pruning means delay in harvest of 4 days. Earlier harvest would give us more time to manage our grapes and help us manage the crush better'. 110 acres owned by Sula have been already been harvested. Sula plans to crush 500 tons of its own grapes. Another 1300 tons will be crushed by the contracted farmers. The time for harvesting at the contracted sites is being advanced though only by a few days.
‘Other growers in the Nashik area are sticking to their normal schedule. Though the grape farming is 40-50 years old in this belt, the farmers are not technically innovative and slow to change their habits', informed Neeraj. Sula hopes to lead and change their habits.
He anticipates an excellent vintage 2007