GUWAHATI, Sept 14: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K
Sangma on Thursday said that the Government has chart out a
plan to promote fruit wine industry in the state.
He said that a robust policy has been put in place to promote a
thriving ecosystem that links tourism, agriculture,
entrepreneurship, and job creation through the promotion of
local fruit winemakers.
Speaking at the launch of North East Wine Incubation Centre at
Mawdiangdiang in Shillong, the chief minister recalled moment
when he encountered a homemade pineapple wine with a
simple, handcrafted label on a beer bottle, which stemmed the
idea to devise strategy to promote professional wine making
“Despite the unimpressive packaging, the wine inside was
exceptional. This experience, combined with discussions and
observations, led to the realization that there is immense
potential in the fruit wine industry in Meghalaya,” the chief
“This entire activity that we are trying to do, it links tourism,
agriculture, and job creation. It has the potential to unlock a
vast capacity that is lying dormant,” he added.
On comprehensive framework to promote the industry, the
chief minister informed on the importance of establishing a
proper system, policy, and support structure for local fruit
winemakers. This initiative is not only aimed at boosting the
wine industry but also at benefiting farmers, tourists, and
entrepreneurs in the state.
“I am in public life to make a positive difference in even a single
individual’s life. That is my driving force,” he said, while adding,
“The activity that we are trying to do here is going to make a
huge positive difference in people’s lives.”
He further envisioned to make Meghalaya the fruit wine capital
of the country. He expressed confidence in achieving this goal
with the collaboration of all stakeholders involved.
He hoped that the wine incubation centre will provide a
platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to test and utilize
machinery, encouraging innovation and economic growth
through wine making.
Addressing concerns about licensing and accessibility for
winemakers, he assured the public that the licensing fees would
remain nominal. He also informed that the Government is in
the process to streamline the registration process to facilitate
ease of access for local winemakers.
The inauguration of the wine incubation centre, which is first of
its kind in the entire North East, was also attended by
agriculture minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and excise minister
In September 2020, the Government of Meghalaya amended
the Meghalaya Excise Rules (Assam Excise Rules 1945) through
a notification dated September 29 2020 (No. ERTS
(E)7/2020/52), to legalise the production and sale of
homemade wines under license to provide a legal avenue for
local winemakers to carry out winemaking as a commercial
venture. This amendment was adopted with the intent of not
only creating an opportunity for wine tourism but also to
provide an impetus to the horticulture sector to undertake
cultivation and production of indigenous fruits on a commercial
scale. This move has created new opportunities for wine
makers, entrepreneurs, and farmers in the state.
The First Batch of Wine Appreciation & Wine Making
Certification Courses were held in June to July 2023 for 68
trainees and for the Second Batch of 25 trainees in August
2023. A total of 93 winemakers have been trained so far with
16 of them currently undergoing internship in the winery of Hill
Zill wines, Bordi, Maharashtra.
The courses offered guided tastings, educational workshops,
and interactive sessions with sommeliers and winemakers
making it an immersive and enriching experience for wine
enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and industry professionals looking to
enhance their knowledge, indulge their senses, and connect
with fellow wine enthusiasts.
The Wine Appreciation & Wine Making Certification Courses
have been organised by MFEC with the aim of encouraging local
winemakers to transition from the traditional art of
winemaking to modern winemaking techniques to ensure that
the quality of wine produced in the state matches nationally
and internationally recognized wine standards.
Having been actively involved in the formulation of the current
policy, the Meghalaya Farmers’ (Empowerment) Commission
(MFEC) has now taken on the yoke of responsibility to provide
an impetus not only for winemakers but also for consumers and
businesses to actively undertake the promotion and
consumption of local fruit wines and meads in the country to
ensure that Meghalaya is at the forefront of fruit wine and
mead production and refinement throughout the northeast.