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Prior to 1960, indigenous way of grape cultivation was adopted in Maharashtra.  In comparison to other leading grape growing countries the advanced technology in viticulture was unknown to the  grape growers. The co-operation rendered by State Agriculture Department and also by Agricultural colleges was meager. Since the area under viticulture was not very large, less attention was paid by them. Hence decades after decades development in viticulture were confined to limits and no efforts were made for future developments in it. In the meantime before 1960 Nashik was well known for Nashik grapes and there were few vineyards which belonged to upcoming grape growers, but it was devoid of any developments owing to absence of technical knowledge and research. The other states accounted for very few grape growers. In spite of favorable geographical conditions for viticulture, the sale and revenue earned by the growers was not satisfactory which in turn restricted the area for grape production.

The prime pillar behind formation of MRDBS was Late. Chief Minister and Father of Green Revolution in Maharashtra, late Mr. Vasantraoji Naik. It was visualized by him that certain regions in Maharashtra were quite favorable for viticulture. He was confident that if an association of grape growers was formed it would certainly help to enhance the growth in grape production.  He discussed the fact with a renowned Horticulturist Dr. Gopal Krishnan. In accordance with the discussion  a  meeting of grape growers was held at Nagpur in 1960. Late Mr. Annasaheb Shembekar, Late Mr. Annasaheb Chinchanikar, Late Mr. K.P. Deshmukh (Bapu), Mr. S.S. Nilakhe, Mr. Paradkar were present for the meeting.

Apart from the inspiration by late Mr. Vasantraoji Naik, many facts and events were also responsible for formation of grape growers association. In 1953, Annual Indian grape exhibition was held at Hyderabad. The exhibition received a good response for publicity of viticulture, especially Anab-E-Shahi variety of Hyderabad became very popular. Curiosity among the grape growers was developed during the grape exhibition held in 1958, which was in accordance with the grape related experiments conducted at Agriculture College, Pune.  Farmers got inclined to viticulture after many misconceptions were cleared. Farmers were under the impression that grape production is a tedious job and requires a long wait for harvest. Where as, actually it took only a year and half to get the yield. Late Mr. Raosaheb Boravke and late Mr. Annasaheb Shembekar after conducting many experiments on their farm, developed new varieties of grapes, which attracted many farmers towards viticulture.

Late Mr. Vasantraoji Naik was State Agriculture Minister during 1959 - 1960.  With his broad foresight and vision of viticulture, he visualized that the use of advance technology and exchange of experience was necessary for growth of viticulture.  He had visualized that only a grape growers association could guide the growers scientifically for better prospectus. In the year 1960, MRDBS was established under the guidance of Dr. N. Gopalkrishnan, supported by late Mr. Raosaheb Boravake, Mr. Abasaheb Boravake and Mr. Annasaheb Shembekar.  Later it was registered under public trust act and society act. A constitution was formed, while the formation of the constitution, various issues and rules were included into it which proves that the founders of this constitution had a profound study not only on viticulture but also on  grape growers and associations.

On 15th March 1960, at Ganeshkhind, a meeting was held at Horticulture Research Centre, where late. Mr. Annasaheb Shembekar was elected as president, late D.K. Gaikwad and late S.N. Boravake as Vice president and Mr. Nilakhe as secretary. Later on 10th May 1960 at Horticulture section an important meeting was presided over by Mr. Shembekar, where a executive committee comprising of seven members was formed.  

A new era in grape farming had begun. The rules and constitution of the association were published in a circular.

Following issues were included in it.

  • To bring about an overall development of the  grape crop as well as grape growers.
  • To provide technical guidance, import fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, growth hormones and provide them to growers and facilitate loan procuring for buying equipments etc.
  • To carry out research on grape vine, to curtail the production cost, improve the quality of grapes, develop and cultivate new varieties of grapes and implement advanced technology for production. To conduct various experiments related to fertigation, water management and pruning. Establish laboratories at every place and run them successfully.
  • To provide reliable grafts from governmental or private vineyards.
  • Provide sufficient and long term loan from Government and other organizations to the growers for vineyard development.
  • Better transportation for distant grape centers and to carry out discussions with concerned centers to make necessary arrangements.
  • Establishment of library to provide books, articles etc. related to grapes.
  • Planning of study tours for gaining information related to vineyard experiments as well as held exhibitions, workshops.
  • Strive for increase in grape cost and demand.
  • Purchase of movable and immovable properties.

Association was registered (Mumbai – 364 P.M.) as well as public registered as (F – 277 Pune).Association was named as Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagaitdar Sangh and office was located in Baramati. Later for the sake of  convenience it was shifted to Pune in 1964, Pune being centrally located.

Some important things to be mentioned about the progress of MRDBS from 1986 to 2006 would be, remarkable increase in the area under grape cultivation as well as increase in number of members of grape growers and most importantly increase in export of grapes. Keeping in mind the developments occurring in viticulture on international level and the demand of promising new grape varieties in international market,  it was decided by the association that there was a need for expansion of work.  Efforts were made by MRDBS towards the growers by making the availability of water soluble fertilizers and also tackling the problems related to growth hormones and chemicals, export of grapes, unavailability of desired variety in demand etc. The problems related to grape growing were successfully handled and continuous efforts  were made in that direction for eradication of the problems.

Points considered for future planning

  • Salinity and sodicity of the soil under grape cultivation.
  • Vineyards in calcareous soils.
  • Water scarcity due to insufficient and untimely rainfall and management of vineyard under moisture stress conditions.
  • lack of Iron, cement, fertilizers, pesticides etc required for establishment of vineyard.
  • Ever increasing labour cost and lack of man power.
  • Scarcity of material required in packaging for export.
  • Lack of transportation facilities for grapes and increase in transportation cost.
  • Insufficient  cold storages for grape storage.
  • Dependency on pesticides, hormones, liquid fertilizer.