Augustine is the first person to patent tender coconut wine. His Indian government patent (No. 209015) on Aug 16 last year is now being processed by the patents offices of the European Union, the US, Canada, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The farmer from Kasargod district hopes that the wine development will help coconut farmers in Kerala to add value to their products if the state government promotes the Maharashtra model of wine tourism.
‘Tender coconut wine is devoid of any artificial agents and can claim to be the purest drink as it does not even contain natural water as found in other wines,’ Augustine told IANS Saturday.
The drink is brewed from tender coconut kernel and its milk. Different fruits like grapes, pineapple and passion fruit and spices (cinnamon, clove, vanilla) are added to make varieties of the wine.
‘With the abundance of tender coconuts and the exclusive patented technology to brew it into a unique wine, Kerala can make the product its USP in the tourism sector,’ said Augustine.
Kerala’s share in coconut production leads the rest of the country with nearly 50 percent of the produce coming from the state, with a total production of over six billion nuts in 2006.
Another advantage this product offers is that tender coconut harvesting doubles the yield from the tree. Frequent plucking of tender coconuts also helps keep diseases at bay.
While the double harvesting gives a decent profit to the farmer, plucking coconuts before they get rip increases workdays of the farm labourer, and hence in more ways than one this product will spell a win-win situation for all.
‘Kerala could take a leaf out of the Maharashtra experience, where the government is aggressively promoting wine tourism by removing all legal hurdles to wine making,’ Augustine said.
‘Since the law regards wine as distinct from liquor, grape farmers are free to brew it in Maharashtra vineyards. The government has even started wine parlours,’ added Augustine.
He is a former government servant and won the Kera Kesari award in 1998, instituted by the Kerala government to recognize the best coconut farmer in the state.
His organic farm in Beemanady in the eastern part of Kasargod district has been awarded the best coconut garden award by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) in 2000.