Shillong wine festival concludes

SHILLONG, Nov 12 – A fine Saturday afternoon, with the idyllic Crinoline Falls set relaxingly behind and a relaxing glass of wine brought cheers to several people at the 10th annual Wine Festival here.

Several stalls were set up by “hobbyists” and professionals with their own brand of wine made from local fruits, vegetables and crops. “This wine has been made at home from Joha rice and it is unlike the local brew “Ka Kiad,” said Derby Shullai, who has been brewing wine for the past many years mainly as a hobby at her home.

She said that Ka Kiad is “not properly distilled” and also not done hygienically. Shullai added that her rice wine was fermented for one year “with lot of love and care” and distilled hygienically. The Joha rice gives the wine its own unique flavour and since it has refined starch “it is good for health,” she adds.

Other wine samples were brewed from Sohiong, a seasonal fruit locally available. “Since there is no English name for Sohiong, the wine brewed from the fruit is called blackberry wine,” Matilda Mary Sawkmie, an elderly lady, who took up wine making as a hobby after her retirement as a deputy secretary in the Meghalaya Government, said.

Apart from the elderly group of people, there were youngsters too who have taken to wine making as a profession. Rachael and her friend are selling dry wine made from a local fruit ‘Sohmon’. “The wine is pungent and that gives a tingling taste…its different,” she said.

There were other varieties of wine that were being sold at the Festival, made from ginger, jack fruit, strawberry, litchi, pineapple, plum, banana and other fruits. The wine makers are experimenting different food items and one particularly caught several people’s imagination - Beetroot.

“The wine made from beetroot is one of the best wine I have tasted in this Festival and I definitely feel good after having it,” a wine connoisseur said sipping from his glass.