Research says, wine consumption in India is set to reach 3.5 million cases to 4 million cases by 2020. This means almost a 25% to 30% increase in the number of wine drinkers/per year.
From a global context, India is an emerging wine market with consumption trend having picked up only in the last 5 years mostly due to the increase in the purchase power of millennials. Some of the latest reports say that cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi are the faster growing markets.
Consumers here are well travelled, conversant with various varietals of wines with a “nose” for good wines and their taste profiles. Although, the taste preference in India is towards the still wines with a sizeable market for Champagne and sparkling wines.
For the most part, wine is a gender-biased category, with more women lining up for it than men. Wine again is more common in urban areas with it being the preferred drink for launches, to be served in art galleries, trunk shows, book launches with finger food. It has found more acceptance even as a day time drink than any spirits for that matter. Earlier it would be mostly the imported labels in these gathering but lately there are quite a few Indian brands that have found its way in.
Interest in Rose' wines will continue to grow in India with it becoming almost the preferred wine for many of the women centric days such as Valentine’s Day, Woman’s Day and so on. However, people are now trying to understand regions for this varietal, type of grapes being used and so on.
Regions like the North East, hill stations in the South of India have been focusing on producing and promoting fruit wines to the rest of the country. Wines made of every conceivable fruit have been used to initiate the uninitiated into this category with Kiwi wines, gooseberry wines, Ginger Wines, Pear Wine…. just to name a few.
In terms of the various markets, Mumbai still leads the pack with the highest consumption seen in this city followed by Delhi which though has a preference for international wines rather than the domestic ones. Bangalore has one of the highest number of people in the age group of 25-35 who are willing to experiment, pair their food with wines for house parties and most importantly celebrate Indian wines as produce of India. Pune shows a rapidly increasing wine culture with people open to paying a premium for wines.
The sale of lower priced wines is more in retail than in hotels where as the sale of premium wines is more in hotels as rather than in retail stores as many of the hotels (restaurants, catering, clubs and pubs) enjoy duty free important licence.
One of the trends on the rise in India in general is the concept of selling ‘Wine by the Glass’. In a country where wine awareness and knowledge are still at a nascent stage, wine by Glass is the best strategy to grow the category.
In general, though, consumer is expected to look for more value for money alternatives than going for traditionally known regions and appellations as value gets pushed on top of the priority list all the time. In the coming years, we are sure to see well-known companies and wine makers putting in efforts to improve the quality in lesser known regions and Appellations. This will be at the top of the list in agenda for wine producers.