The central province of Ninh Thuan held a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on April 7 to introduce its hosting of the International Grapes and Wine Festival 2014 from July 10-12.

Under the theme “Vine and grape - Attractive tourism product”, the festival will see the presence of 100 booths for Vietnamese and foreign exhibitors from France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, Romania, Germany and others to show off their products made from grapes.

There are cultural and artistic activities, including an exhibition on grapes and wine products, cuisine and kite-flying contests, a seminar on “Ninh Thuan grapes-Jade in stone” to guide farmers to get the best from grapes.

Ninh Thuan has the largest vineyards in Vietnam, with 2,500 ha mainly concentrated in Ninh Phuoc and Ninh Hai districts and Phan Rang-Thap Cham City. The grape output is between 60,000-65,000 tonnes a year.

Ninh Thuan grapes are processed for many kinds of products such as raisins, jelly and wine. Therefore, it pays much attention to processing grapes.

The province has stepped up scientific and technological application in cultivating, harvesting and protecting grapes while registering for the protection of its brand name and geographical indications.

The grape was introduced into Ninh Thuan in 1960, test-planted by the South Central Centre for Agricultural Technical Research based in Nha Ho, Ninh Son district, and was commercially produced in the 1980s.

The locality has given priority to grape investment and development projects since 1992, including planting, preserving and processing techniques, while conducted studies on new grape varieties suitable with the local climate.

As many as 17 Ninh Thuan grape development projects with a total funding of some 15 billion VND were carried out. Some new grape varieties were introduced to viticulturists, including NH01-48, NH01-152 and BlackQueen.

The Ninh Thuan provincial Department of Science and Technology has worked with experts, scientists and technicians from various institutes to train and guide techniques, and transfer grape cultivating, processing, preserving techniques, based on VietGAP standards, to viticulturists.

In addition, to raise the quality and added value of grapes, scientific and technical application in the storing and processing stages has been given priority. Heavy investment has been poured into storing technologies that help extend the shelf life and enhance the quality of fresh grapes to meet market demand.

The Department has paid due attention to registering brand names and geographical indications for local grapes, recognising the work is crucial to securing larger market share and bigger income for local viticulturists.

On February 17, 2012, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) issued Decision No. 194 certifying the geographical indication of Ninh Thuan grape products, which helps raise the value of Ninh Thuan grapes on the market.-VNA