Fruzzante

Hand creafted from chickoos grown in Dahanu-Gholvad
The Chikoo Story - Around 1890 AD Sir Dinshaw Petit during his excursion to South American rainforests brought an exotic fruit sapling "Sapota" to the shores of Bombay. Due to lack of space in his home garden in Nana Chowk, the sampling was entrusted to his dear friend Ardeshir Irani who lived in the coastal town of Gholvad about 150km from the city. The fruit survived a host of challenges in this alien land. The Chikoo was grafted onto the local Rhyne tree by Merwan Khodadad, a local farmer after a storm uprooted most of the plantation. The local trees strong tap root helped it become more resilient. Utmost care by it's growers while some borrowing it's rootstock from the native Rhyne tree, it got a new name "Chikoo" which now grew favourably in this terroir. In return this humble fruit brought prosperity to it's new home. Fine Chikoos became an identity of Dahanu-Gholvad and the surrounding region.

I am a farmers daughter and Gholvad is my native village. (I have attached the story of Gholvad chikoos for your reference)I was born and brought up here. After schooling I moved on to Mumbai, Pune and finally USA to complete Masters in Mechanical Engineering. After studying and working in USA, I decided to head back home to help my parents in their family business. My family owns a Resort and Fruit orchards in a hills surrounding the beautiful costal town of Bordi. Dahanu-Gholvad Chikoo is renowned and now also holds a Geographical Indication. A seed borer disease had destroyed the Chikoo market and farmers had eventually resorted to cutting off Chikoo trees for some other cultivation. Even after the fruit recovered from its tyranny, the market acceptance suffered greatly. Moreover, Chikoo barely had any products that could add value to fruit. Other several problems with Chikoo were its high pH, highly perishable and uneven nature of ripening. We were trying to access all possible avenues so that Chikoo could be put to use. Most of the Chikoo dried products too failed to attract the consumers. We realised that Chikoo juice retained the major flavour component of the fruit and the dried matter had very little Chikoo flavour. Again the juice was tough to package and is highly perishable. The fruit has very strong ambient yeast that start fermentation very fast post juice extraction. While a friend who was working on wines suggested Chikoo Wine as its in the nature of Chikoo to ferment. Wine would also add the much needed glamour quotient to the fruit and most important we could bottle Chikoo. And hence started working on Chikoo Wine in 2011. The makers of this wine are farmers who are immensely passionate about their fruit and believe in it's potential for developing into a fine wine varietal. Its the first ever wine made from pure chikoo extracts, offering an outburst of tropical flavours on your palate.

The pH of Chikoo is around 5.1 which makes it practically impossible for wine making. Also juice extraction is about 350 - 400 ml per kg of chikoo. But there are advantages as well. The juice is packed with so much flavours and sugar that it needs to be diluted very much in order to maintain good amount of flavour intensity. We do not add any sugar to the diluted juice as it's sufficient enough to get the amount of alcohol required in the drink. Just acidity to be adjusted and the juice is ready for fermentation. So I would say it's completely worth making the wine as it give surprising notes on the palate. The wine is carbonated and served chilled to taste its best.

We have a wine maker who made the task of Chikoo Wine look effortless. Mr. Dominic Rivard from Nova Scotia, Canada is a renowned fruit wine maker and cider specialist. He has worked at several wineries around the world and owns the very famous Bulwark Ciders and Red Barn Winery in Nova Scotia, Canada.

The wine is made in Bordi. The winery is part of Hill Zill Resort. The wine manufacturer is Hill Zill Wines. The style of wine making is similar to that of Frizantes made in Italy and since the wine is made out of fruit we chose to call it "Fruzzanté." We have produced about 25,000 bottles of 330ml each. The wines were recently launched on 31st December, 2016.
The left over goes back to the farm to be used as manure for the Chikoo trees.
The wine MRP is ₹255 for 330ml. The cost is so as 100% Excise duty is applicable on the wine unlike grape wines that are duty free in Maharashtra. Also 20% VAT is applicable unlike grape wines that enjoy a 16% rebate. We have approached the state government several times to treat all fruit wines as equal and be given the same benefits as grape wineries enjoy but the state government has been numb over the issue. The wine is currently available in Dahanu-Bordi and some restaurants in Mumbai. We are looking to tie up with a few distributors to make a good distribution network in Maharashtra.
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