It was an attempt by a CSIR laboratory to make wine from tea in order to avoid wasting over-grown tea leaves, but the technology is now in demand in Mozambique where it will be replicated using local tea leaves.
The Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (IHBT), a laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has recently signed a MoU with a company from Mozambique under which the technology will be transferred to the company.
"The company, which is owned by a person of an Indian origin, will make wine from tea found locally. Our scientists will go to the African nation to set up machines," IHBT Director Sanjay Kumar said.
Improving tea production in Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh and value addition to tea are the focus areas of IHBT.
The tea produced in the Himalayan state is also known as Kangra tea. Like the Darjeeling tea, Kangra tea is also famous whole leaf orthodox tea available in the country.
"Tea is a very labour intensive crop. The tender apical bud and subtending two leaves are picked at the right stage by trained pluckers and processed in the factories to give the famous Kangra tea," Kumar said.
He said, during the recent years, tea plantations are faced with labour shortage due to which there is delay in plucking of tea shoots, thereby hampering the quality of the leaves.
This delay of two-three days in plucking produces less succulent overgrown tea shoots severely affecting the processing of orthodox black teas, thus, lowering the tea quality and severely affects the economy of the tea plantations, he said.
"To overcome the problem of un-remunerative low grade made teas, the Institute has come up with value addition of these teas by processing them into tea wines," Kumar said.
He said the institute has further made wines using tea with local fruits/berries having health benefiting properties.
"In our technology portfolio we have tea wines (from only tea) and tea herbal wines (tea with local fruits). The wines take a little more than a year for processing. The wines can be made sweet or dry on demand. The alcohol content can also be varied," Kumar said.