Wine Industry India

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Executive Summary

Imagine starting a winery for just $44,000 in a country where the wine industry is growing at a rate of 25% to 30%.

Yes, the Wine Industry of India is at the introduction stage of its life cycle and a small winery can be started in India with an investment of about $44,000. Required know-hows and machinery are available locally.

For the year 2008-2009, the wine consumption in India was only about 13.3 million litres or 1.5 million 9-litre cases at a value of $82 million. At a per capita level, the consumption was about 9 millilitres annually. In the same year, the world wine consumption was 2.6 billion cases. The size of the Indian wine market is small when compared to global consumption and annual per capita consumption of 70 litres in France and Italy, 25 litres in the US, 20 litres in Australia and 40 millilitres in China.

The prospects of growth for wine in India are quite high. About 600 million Indian’s are currently below the legal drinking age and 100 million will come of that age over the next 3 to 4 years. So, the consumption of alcoholic beverages such as wine is expected to increase. In spite of India’s high import tariffs on wine, this country was one of the world’s fastest growing wine markets. Until the year 2008-2009, growth was about 25% to 30% every year.  However, sales fell in the year 2009-2010 for the first time since 2001. Wine exporters blame the slump on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks two years ago that led to a dip in tourism in India. Despite the recent setback, consumption of wine in India is projected to increase to 2 million cases by 2011 and 4 million cases by 2015.

It is critical to note that, the level of tax burden for both local winemakers and importers of wine is high. Control over selling, distribution, and pricing of wine belongs to state governments. Each of India’s 28 states and 7 union territories has its own rules and regulations for sale of alcohol. In some states an imported wine may cost almost 4 to 5 times of its price, with over 50% of its revenue shared between various levels of government. A wine bottle that leaves France at three euros (under $4) is sold in India at approximately 15 euros (about $20).

However, states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have taken steps to encourage wine industry and given preferential treatments by liberalizing their excise regime and reducing excise duties.  Eighty precent consumption of wine in India is confined to major cities such as Mumbai (39%), Delhi (23%), Bangalore (9%) and Goa (9%).

The supply chain of the wine industry in India is fairly linear. Winemakers are the key to the supply chain and they record good profits. The key to success in the wine business is branding so, a substantial chunk of dollars are spent in selling and distribution. It is also critical to note that, promotion of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in India. So, winemakers use strategies such as surrogate marketing and creating economies of scale.

Success in the wine business in India is conceivable if you do the hard yards of government regulations and have the right marketing mix.

Table of Contents

Industry Definition

Wine Making Process

Key Statistics

Supply Chain


Market Characteristics

Industry Conditions

Key Competitors

Key Factors



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News - Wine India

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  • Sommelier India tastes India's finest


    Pale straw and youthful appearance. Fruit-forward nose with abundance of ripe white fruits and a touch of florals, green gooseberries, with mineral back. Fine mousse, round mouthful and crisp structure. Dry palate, crisp acidity, green tinge with a cleanbiting lime zestiness. Ready to drink.
    16/20. MRP 1,100

    Pale watermelon and onion skin colour. Fine mousse. Fresh red, under-ripe berries, tad green, minerally, strawberry skin. Round, crisp palate with a creamy mouthfeel. Candied under-ripe berries and dark spices. Tad warm from high alcohol than required for balance.

    15/20. MRP 1,200

    2013 SULA BRUT
    Deep lemon hue but slightly flat in appearance. Aromas of ripe fruit, sappy touches, yellow fruit
skin, tad chemically, hint of marmalade
and traces of oxidation. Off-dry, oxidative palate. Chemical, coppery, granular, sharp palate.

    15.5/20. MRP 1,050

    2013 SULA ROSÉ
    Deep salmon touches. Crushed floral, over-ripe peach. Sour cream, strawberry mousse, animally, warm alcohol. Bruised yellow and red fruits. Seems past its prime. Tastes fruity with sweet red cherries and candied blood orange in its youth. 1
    4.5/20. MRP 1,200

    white wines.JPGWHITE WINE

    Pale straw, green tinge flavour. Like a water cracker with aloe- vera gel. Pale body, slightly sharp and crunchy front palate, white pepper, tad flabby. Grainy and high on minerality. Gooseberries, under-ripe white fruits, good aftertaste but lacks structure.
    14/20. MRP 500

    2013 VITAE TRE
    Youthful, medium straw hue. Mid-aromatic nose, stoney fruits, rosewater hints. Spicy and ripe white fruit touches, final notes of sweet tropical fruits. Dry, aromatic fruity palate, flavoursome sweet white fruit, marzipan, honeydew aftertaste. Balanced body. Ready to drink.
    16.5/20. MRP 1,600


    Pale lemon colour. Youthful. Low fruity nose, oak chips. Rustic Nashik nose. Closed fruit. Warm spices. Tad woody. Should be decanted and rested. Dry. High on spices. Chalky, minerality, with green hints and sappy touches. Good juicy aftertaste but too short.
    15.5/20. MRP 1,600

    Medium straw colour. Aromatic essences of sweet white fruits and fragrant white florals. Dry white, despite Viogner's tendency towards sweetness. High alcohol and a throat drying mid-palate, highly spicy front, chalky, mineral; green touches, good aftertaste but short.
    16/20. MRP 1,200

    Surprising pink touch over medium lemon hue. Aromatic nose. Rose petals, peach marmalade, jasmine and white florals, candied mint, elderflower. Bone dry, warm from high alcohol, flabby as it lacks acidity, grainy structure and mouthfeel. Floral front, sweet fruit, dry back, gentle soapy finish with varietal character. Ready to drink. Should decant.
    15/20. MRP 950

    Deep straw. Youthful. Curious nose of milk-cake. High on florals. Sweet, white fruit aroma. Touch of rubber and candied mint. Medium dry. Flabby palate as it lacks acidity. Off-balance. Grainy palate. Round mouthfeel with varietal characteristics.
    15/20. MRP 890

    red wines.JPGRED WINE

    Medium ruby. Youthful and bright. Clean, dark skin fruit, sweet and juicy. Slightly fragrant. Gentle and crunchy. Soft round and gentle mouthfeel. Crisp, fine grain tannins. Earthy and woody with high fruitiness, chewy, and well balanced. Overall, very supple. 15/20. MRP 550

    2011 SETTE
    Deep ruby colour with fading rims. Oaky front palate, high on marzipan. Bitter almond nose. Touch under-ripe. Sweet and jammy, ripening fruit. Dusty, husky, gripping oak. Bitter aftertaste. Chemical-like, not amicable yet. Needs couple of years to mature. Maybe five to six years.
    15.5/20. MRP 1,800

    Dense, deep ruby, fading rims. Youthful but developing. Sweet subtle nose. Oak plus juicy fruit. Earthy, caramel and Maplewood lifts. Dark red florals. Sweet fruity palate. Dusty, French oak front. Sweet and warm spices. Marzipan touch, round, medium grain tannins. Balanced with a bitter almond aftertaste. Can be aged for up to five years, needs decanting. 17/20. MRP 1,800

    Deep ruby, fading rims but developing well. Jammy front palate with smoky dark fruits, black spices, a little burnt wood but warm, earthy lift. Round, dense, warm, smoky oak. Tannic palate, highly grainy mouthful. Balanced, warm dark fruit, lifted sweet aromatics, good refreshing acidity, clean aftertaste. Oak heavy.
    16/20. MRP 1,200

    Medium to deep ruby, fading rims. Jammy, red fruit forward, sweet red plums and cherries. Touch of under-ripe fruit, with granular tannins. Chewy mouthfeel. Rugged palate with a lift of rich concentrated fruit.
    14.5/20. MRP 720

    2013 RASA SHIRAZ
    Scented aromas of raspberries, dark plums and cherries, followed by sweet, warm spices and freshly crushed peppercorns.Good mouthfeel from fine- grained tannins and oak. Well structured and age- worthy.
    15.5/20. MRP 1,290

    2012 ARROS
    Youthful, vibrant, medium ruby with fading rims. Oaky nose. Juicy fruit penetrates through with raspberries, blackberries and bitter cherries. Palate, juicy and soft, balanced, French oak aftertaste, chewy palate. Very drinkable.
    16/20. MRP 1,045


    2012 ZINFANDEL
    Pale watermelon colour. Slightly grassy nose, hint of spices, a little under-ripe red fruits, low on flavour. Out of balance as the chemicals haven't integrated yet. Gooseberries, grassy, high on spice, jammy and chalky. Finishes on a fruity back palate.
    14/20. MRP 550


    York dessert wine.JPGYORK
    Appearance medium lemon with hint of green. Low fruitiness. White and yellow fruit. White florals, hint of green skin aromas. Chewy front and high on acidity. Slightly earthy back palate. If not served chilled, it can cloy. Tasted at warmer than recommended temperature.
    14/20. MRP 315 for half bottle

    Tasting notes by SITP coordinator, Gagan Sharma

    We must remind our readers that there are no absolutes where wine is concerned. Our recommendations are based on a particular bottle of wine tasted by us at a single sitting. Another bottle of the same wine in a different setting may well taste different. Combining many cumulative years of tasting wine, the SI Tasting Panel commends these wines to you. But, in the final analysis, you must learn to trust your palate and make your own choices.
    -- Reva K. Singh

    (From SI Issue 6, December 2014/January 2015)

  • In Conversation with Sommelier Erin Ryan White

    What brought you to the world of wine?
    It has all of the things I like wrapped into one. It has the beauty of colour and fragrance, flavours and energy. Like all art, it makes you feel. All wine has something to say. In some wines you may not enjoy the experience, in others, it may be heaven in a glass. It is never boring because it changes every year. It can be a history lesson or you can close your eyes and travel via your senses. A deep sniff of a Barolo and you are back in northern Italy.

    August is featured on Wine Enthusiast magazine's list of America's Best 100 Wine Restaurants, how have you influenced the selections?
    The list is definitely more French than any other country. Bordeaux can be a bit big so there are only four selections. We have a diverse wine list but the sheer number of selections in certain regions suggests what I think pairs with our menu. Our menu is Contemporary French so Burgundy is favoured and Sauvignon Blanc tends to be from the Loire Valley and not New Zealand. I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but it is not as subtle by intention. Pinot Noir choices outnumber other reds. Most styles are represented but some regions have only one or two selections. It is a subtle but effective way to influence selection.

    In India, many diners are eager to experiment, but also slightly intimidated and cost conscious. You have a significant by-the-glass selection. How do you direct this to your and your guests' advantage?
    My open bottles are tools. I can sell a glass with the first course of seafood and a bottle with the main course. All dishes on the menu have a glass pairing. We can do a personalised pairing for you with whatever you choose to eat. We have a better profit margin on wine by the glass, which makes it worth the effort. The guest spends the same money as if buying a bottle but may get four or five different wines to try. It is more interactive with the staff, if you are feeling adventurous and want that kind of dinner experience. If a quiet conversation over dinner is the night you desire, a bottle is better.
    I like to be able to pour a sip of wine if words fail. Sometimes a guest may not understand what minerality tastes like. I can pour a sip of Sancerre and it is clearer. One sip is our baseline. From that sip the guest will say "too dry," or " just right". I always give two price points from the cellar. They can choose what is a comfortable price.

    August has a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) policy with no corkage fee. Would you like to comment on this?
    John Besh, believes that we have invited guests into August and they are like a guest at home. August is our home and Besh is a very gracious person. The BYOB policy is a part of his hospitality. A way to make a friend and a return guest. Most people are respectful that selling wine is how we pay our staff and do not abuse this policy. I have to say this year there have been some real gems, 1945 Château Haut- Brion, 2003 DRC Montrachet, 1991 Musigny, Comte de Vogüé. I get to try some amazing wines that people bring from their own cellars!

    What are your top selling wines and how have they changed over the years?
    Pinot Noir is our top selling varietal. We also sell the most of what we are excited about. I sell a lot of Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, 100% Marsanne from Ferraton Père & Fils. It goes with four dishes on the menu. Very versatile. Dry, but rich like a Chardonnay, it has clean minerality like a Sauvignon Blanc and profiles of stone fruits and almonds. It is perfect, paired with Marcona almond-crusted, soft shell crabs over a brown butter custard, topped with a warm tomato and green bean salad. It's moderately priced as well. You can sell whatever you believe in.

    What would be one of your most memorable pairings on the August menu?
    It was a vegetarian course of squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and roasted tomatillo, paired with a 2001 Château Musar white, (Obaideh and Merwah, native Lebanese grape varietals) from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. This wine was strange for many people and definitely out of their comfort zone. It has a lightly oxidised sherry-like character. They were unsure about it and I would ask for patience. It was exciting to see them change their opinion. I have been doing a flight of Madieras with our cheese course after dinner as well. Madeira may be making a comeback!

    You have spoken elsewhere of pairing wines not just with the food but also with the personality of the guest. Could you explain?
    This is my 33rd year in the wine business. I have spent a lot of time doing just that. I think wine is very personal and what you select should meet your guest's needs, not what you would want to drink. I think of it as an energy reading more than a psychoanalytic review. Did you have a tiring day? Is this a business dinner with powerful men? Are you celebrating a birthday? Is it very hot outside? All these things influence my suggestions.

    There still are fewer women than men in this field. What are some of the challenges you face, if any?
    This is simply my own experience. European maitre d's did not believe women had a place in fine dining. There was some resistance from guests as well. It was also usually men who selected the wines. I was tested by a regular guest when I first started. He was a ship captain and very much in control. He asked "which of these three wines would you select?" There was only one right answer. If I had gone for the most expensive bottle, rare but not the best choice, he would have lost his trust in me.
    I think the biggest challenge was working the dining room while I was pregnant. It was at The Windsor Court Hotel, rated #1 in the US at the time. It is a very formal dining room. Our GM was very progressive and never thought to remove me from the dining room. It really did surprise diners. I bought a beautiful Hino & Malee designer suit to help look the part. I always spit when tasting wine, so it was not a problem continuing, and my sense of smell was very acute. I think I survived all the tests and came out winning! You always have to do your best. I found that the hurdles in my way made me leap higher, rather than blocking my way.

    What is the most memorable bottle you have opened in the recent past?
    I think it was 1967 Château d'Yquem, from Sauternes, Bordeaux. I did not expect it to be as amazing as it was. I already really loved dessert wines but had questioned spending a lot for Château d'Yquem. I don't question spending on Burgundy or Riesling. However, the 1967 Chateau d'Yquem is in the all-time greats record book and belongs there. It was mind-blowing. Stored in pristine conditions, it was a revelation. Layers of nectarine, honey, coconut, burnt orange peel, orchids and cardamom. I will never forget it. ❖

  • A professional course in wine management
  • A great success! The Nagpur Wine & Food Festival '14

    In fact, two wineries were completely sold out by 7.30 pm and that created a little panic among the visitors because they couldn't make use of their coupons. As a result, the event's organiser, had to make good their tasting coupons from other wineries until even their stocks began to get over. Consequently, around 9pm, they declared the festival free and open for all.

    It was very heartening for the organisers to see a 25% growth in the number of visitors this year. A lesson for all - and the participating wineries in particular - was to make sure that there was adequate stocks the following year to avoid a shortage of wines and disappointment for the consumer.

    Since Christmas and the New Year are high on everybody's list, the people of Nagpur were on a wine buying spree. Sula and Turning Point sold the maximum number of cases while Fratelli and Nine Hills also did well. However, GroverZampa and Chateau D'ori would need to be better prepared when they take part in the fest in 2015.

    Said Sharad Phadnis, "I am happy to share that the dates for next year's festival are November 28-29; the venue remains the same. We also hope there will be more participating wineries, as it's quite evident that wine culture in Nagpur is on an upswing since the formation of the Nagpur Wine Lovers Club (NWLC) in 2010. With a membership of 155 members, it is among the fastest growing wine clubs in India."

  • Champagne Rendezvous at the ITC Grand Chola

    Adrian Pinto, ambassador of GH Mumm Champagne hosted the evening along with Hannah Keirl bar manager and beverage specialist at the ITC Grand Chola for a select audience. Under the spotlight were two champagnes - GH Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne, GH Mumm Rosé Champagne and two Sparkling wines - Jacobs Creek Brut Cuvée, Jacobs Creek Brut Rosé. The guests' focus was not on the tasting notes, though. It was on how the bottles would be decapitated with the blunt side of the sabre blade.

    The inside pressure of a champagne bottle which, at around 620 kilopascals/90 psi, is more than the air pressure inside your car tyre, makes it possible. Quite a few guests had a go, brandishing the sabre unsteadily at first. But after a few swishes nearly everybody got it right.

    The culinary team of the hotel had prepared an exquisite menu with special emphasis on exotic seafood of which the scallops were the highlight.

    ITC Grand Chola's Champagne Rendezvous hit a high note with its hands-on introduction ofthe art of sabrage. The hotel promises that it has more such evenings up its sleeve. But a Sabrage experience can be a tough act to follow!

  • UNESCO honour for Pantelleria low bush vine

    This is a big recognition for an agricultural practice where vines of the Zibibbo grape have virtually moulded the landscape of the island's volcanic soil.

    Pantelleria, which translates to "very windy", plants its vines in a unique fashion. The vines are cultivated below ground level, in a large basin to shelter the plant and fruit from strong Scirocco and Levant winds that blow at great speeds on the island. Their heroic viticultural practice doesn't involve any machines, as it's very labour-intensive.

    As Prof. Pier Luigi Petrillo, curator of the nomination of the Alberello of Pantelleria for the Ministry of Agricultural Policies, noted, the achievement was, "a very complex journey that began five years ago and ended with the inscription, for the first time ever, of an agricultural practice on the Representative List of "The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

    The mayor of Pantelleria, Salvatore Gabriele said, "It is a great achievement for Italy and for Pantelleria. I think it is a great challenge, a great compliment to a community which, over the centuries, has transformed places that are difficult to reach into terraces where an extraordinary product is produced."

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  • Yellow Tail Founder Charged in Drug Ring

    Two weeks after being charged, he ceased being a director of Casella Wines, leaving his two older brothers, Joe and John, as the joint directors of the business. He goes before a judge in January 2015.

    According to Wikipedia, the Casella family has produced wines since the 1820s in Italy. However in 1957 the Casella family, headed by Filippo Casella and his wife Maria, moved to Australia. Yellow Tail is a wine brand they established and was a chance for the family winery to enter into the bottled wine market--having previously supplied bulk wine to other wineries. Yellow Tail was developed around the year 2000, originally marketed to export countries and became the number one imported wine to the USA by 2003. Today 12 million cases of Yellow Tail is exported to more than 50 countries annually by Casella Wines.

    No one can say that the wine industry is a boring one. More here.