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The Bangalore blue variety at a HOPCOMS outlet.
The Bangalore blue variety at a HOPCOMS outlet.

M. Raghuram

Large bunches of succulent grapes dangle in vast expanses of vineyards

DODDABALLAPUR: Brace yourself to go grapes this winter and Bangalore blue at that! For the first time in the last five years, the off-season crop of the Bangalore blue variety is on the way to a bumper crop.

As one travels through the picturesque environs of Bangalore Rural district covering Hoskote, Doddaballapur, Nelamangala and Devanahalli taluks, the standing crop of Bangalore blue fills the eyes. There are large bunches of succulent grapes dangling from the vines in the expanses of vineyards.

And, the growers thank the heavens for the copious rain that was just right and the humidity levels which could never have been better. They are expecting an average of nine tonnes per acre in the district which is as good as the crop in the season if not more.

Thimmappa Gowda, a grower in Singanayakana Halli in Doddaballapur taluk, was all smiles when he talked about the crop. “I have not reaped a better harvest than this season before. Last season, I was so desperate that I wanted to dispose of the land and settle in some small business, but my family suggested against that and today, I am happy to see my vineyard full,” he said.

Another grower next door Muddumade Gowda, who was preparing to harvest the grapes, said, “Bangalore blue has become a major table variety in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A portion of the crop also goes to Goa for wine making.”

Karnataka grows nine varieties of grapes in an area of 95,000 hectares, and the annual output is 1,80,000 tonnes. According to procurement manager of HOPCOMS Subbanna, Bangalore consumes 750 tonnes of the Bangalore blue variety. An equal volume of the crop goes for value addition, he says.

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