From the INDIAN WINE ACADEMY Newsletter

Indian Decks Cleared for OIV Membership.  Within a year of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries taking the in-principle decision for India to join the Paris based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV, for Office International de la Vigne et du Vin), it  has got the proposal cleared from various government departments.  OIV has taken the final step of informing its Member States for any possible opposition, hopefully a mere formality.  It appears that India is all set to join OIV.

According to sources, MOFPI (Ministry of Food Processing Industries) got the final clearance early last month and the decision to apply formally was communicated to OIV immediately.  Previously, after thorough examination of the merits of joining the « August Body », the Ministry had taken the affirmative step through the positive efforts of the Indian Grape Processing Board.  Subsequently, the permission of MEA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) was sought as per the government norms.  Once the approval was received, the Finance Department of the Ministry had to give the final clearance which was subject to certain clarifications.

Once an applicant country files the application through its government (the membership is open only to governments and as such is a matter of great importance and prestige), OIV has to send a copy of the application to all the OIV Member Countries according to Article 14 of the new Charter the Organisation had received in 2001.

The Member States have a right to express their favourable or negative opinion for the admission.  If a simple majority approves, the country becomes a member by paying the annual membership charges on a prorata basis.  The charges are based on the level of grape and wine production.  India needs to pay very near the base charge, less than €16 000 annually.

After the positive decision is conveyed to it, India has one year time to deposit their ratification/accession instrument with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is the custodian of the OIV Treaty, due to geographic reasons.

There is general consensus that all nations will agree to the entry of India.  According to the Ministry sources, the Indian government’s application was made in mid January.  This would mean a positive decision by mid July.  In the meanwhile, the 34th World Vine and Wine Conference, as already reported in DelWine is being organised by OIV in Porto from 20 to 27 June 2011, by which time the organisation would have definitely received the concurrence of a majority of  its member states.

« Notwithstanding the results of members’ views,  the Indian delegation will be received with all possible friendship and status at the Porto Conference and we can manage to have them sit within the Member Countries delegations » says Federico Castellucci, the Director General of OIV, who has been quite busy seeking the support for the Indian entry.

It may be in order for OIV to make an announcement to the effect at the Conference since it is an important event of the organisation where all nations are represented.  India has been invited to attend the conference even though it will not be an official member by then because of the six month restriction. However, if handled professionally the delegates can network with their counterparts from the advanced wine making nations during the conference.

OIV is an intergovernmental scientific and technical organisation with recognised expertise in the field of vines, wines and other viti-viniculture products.  It is made up of over 50 Member States (governments) and observers and succeeds the « Office International de la Vigne et du Vin« , which was regulated by the Treaty that Portugal subscribed in 1924.  India has been given the privilege of joining directly as a member and not an observer, as is the normal practice.