05/13/2011, 00.00
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Stop on import of mass wine, Catholics favour “made in Indonesia”

by Mathias Hariyadi
For centuries, the archipelago has turned abroad to find the right wine for religious services. Agronomists, religious and lay people together to promote local production. Search for area suitable for cultivation. The initiative has been welcomed enthusiastically by the Bishop of Purwokerto and supported by Catholic universities.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Making special wine for masses in Indonesia, putting an end to total dependence on foreign imports. This is an ambitious project sponsored by the Catholic Church in Indonesia, started in first person by Msgr. Julianus Sunarko SJ, Bishop of Purwokerto (Java island), who says he is "enthusiastic" about the initiative, in collaboration with priests, agronomists, university students and a Trappist nun. The first vineyard should be planted just in front of the monastery, perched on a hill in Central Java.

The project for Mass wine production in Indonesia intends to stop dependence on imports. A recent workshop sponsored by the Jesuit University Sanata Dharma University (USD), Yogyakarta, outlined the first steps in the grafting of vines and vineyards, able to withstand the hot and humid climate of the archipelago. Hosted by Fr P. Wirjono SJ, dean of the institute, the initiative has the support of Msgr. Sunarko, Bishop of Purwokerto and was attended by dozens of academics, agronomists, theologians, priests, nuns and businessmen. All gathered for one purpose: to produce wine "made in Indonesia."

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr. Sunarko says he has been thrilled with the participation of "dozens of university students" in the meeting and by the "optimism expressed by all participants." The bishop confirmed that key factors are "about to be launched" "such as “the chosen area for the planting of the vine, the system of cultivation and production." The bishop will report on developments in person to the Indonesian Conference of Bishops (KWI) and is convinced that "my colleagues in the Kwi will not object to the project, which is supported by several NGOs and the association which brings together the Indonesian Catholic Universities (Aptik ).

Specific material from Australia will be used for the fermentation process and entrusted to the care of Indonesian farmers, to encourage local production. The project also involves a Trappist Indonesian religious, Sister Martha, from the monastery of Gedono in Salatiga, on the hills of Mount Merbabu. In this area of Central Java, according to experts with the collaboration of Austrian winemakers the first vines for wine production in Indonesia may be planted.

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