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If wine is passion, Shillong is a goblet
Correspondent, SHILLONG, NOV 8:
Published on 9 Nov. 2008 12:33 AM IST
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If wine is passion, Shillong is a goblet. The fifth consecutive ‘Shillong Wine Festival,’ organised by the Forever Young Club in this hill city Friday was more than just a festival – it was universal romance! “Fabulous. Nothing like this I have experienced before,” said young Anungla Walling from Nagaland while sampling the local Passion brand of wine. Passion is a juicy fruit indigenous to Meghalaya has been for long fermented into one of the most sought after wines in the world today. The wine festival continued to draw connoisseurs from several parts of the country and abroad sipping to glory at the fore lawns of the Eldorado Complex. “Such festivals in India can be organised only in Shillong, given the climate and ambience,” said Naomi Rocher, a tourist and wine buff by nature from United Kingdom. Ginger, mulberry fruit, strawberry, litchi, pineapple, passion fruit, blackberry, plum, banana and even jackfruit have been fermented to produce a sensual variety of wine for the Festival. “The ginger wine we make is soothing to a soar throat and is appropriate for the cold climate in Shillong,” said Angel Marbaniang, a former principal college. Michael Syiem, the brainchild behind the unique festival said with abundance of local fruits throughout the year, which either rot or sold cheap, the Forever Young Club has decided to add value to these fruits by brewing wine which could very soon lead to viable cottage industries.” “With South East Asia gradually emerging as a free market, Meghalaya could soon emerge as a major exporter of locally made wine,” Syiem opined. Echoing Forever Young Club objective, local wine-maker John Khongwir, wine making is a hobby, opined that Meghalaya government should be declared as a cottage industry by the Meghalaya government.“The government should promote home winemaking so that wine made of locally grown fruits can be exported outside the state,” Khongwir said. With the wine-warm afternoon drifting into a heady evening, an old anonymous Chinese saying on a placard at one of the stalls, perhaps, gave away the spirit of the only known Wine Festival in the country: “Only the things we know when we’re drunk, can never be expressed when we’re sober!”

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