Indian Fine cuisines culture is changing. Now people are getting more open and accepting wine. Indian urban cities have several bars and restaurants where wine culture is getting its roots.
There are several types of wine so people have several options to choose from. Broadly one can select from its alcohol percentage, country, fruit, and color. In Europe, wines are traditionally named after the place from which they originate.
India imports a good number of wine from different countries and they too export some of their wines to other countries.
Indeed, government policy is somewhere slowing the pace but wine is getting its root in Indian culture and market. Moreover, India is a whiskey drinking country. We drink nearly all what Scotland produces in a year.
Few years back India consumed nearly 0.012 liters of wine per person that roughly counts as 6 table spoons per annum. China who is considered as a newcomer and traditionally comes at a low level in wine drinking took nearly 1 liter per person and Australia who has a proud wine drinking habit consumed around 30 liters per person, according to ABS.
In India situation is not so simple. We have around 150% on import duty, plus additional taxes of around 12% then 5% of unloading, storage cost, transferring cost from one state to another, State duties and on top of it wine importers trade margins which is around 40%. It is all at the expense of consumers.
However, situation is changing. The wine market is consistently growing by 15- 18%. At present we are consuming around 1400 crores of wine each year which is approximately US $ 280 million.
Retail segment is growing very rapidly and wine now accounts for 30% of all sales which was earlier 22- 25% and it is considered that wine is going to be the single largest segment in liquor retailing.
This retailing has made new trend in India. Now in our urban society it is very easily accepted that women are consuming alcoholic beverages. New generation is having better awareness about benefits of wine and wine is seen to be the least harmful and the least potent.
Some steps are taken by the state government too such as states like Karnataka delinked wine from hard liquor and beer and introduced the concept of “wine tavern” licenses. That really makes it easy to open bars and serve wine at less expensive price.
India has nearly 123,000 acres of vineyards across India but only 1% of it is used for wine. Indeed, India will take a long time to reach the level of wine producing countries like France, Italy, Australia, Spain, America, etc. but a few big names in India have started to gain grounds.
Indian Wine market has started seeing good days after 2012 and things are improving. As per forecast by 2017 wine market will get 73.5% assumed growth. That means India will be consuming 2.4 million cases of wine that year. However, china will be consuming 178 million cases of wine.
We can only hope that government tax policy will get liberal and better days will come to this sector soon.