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Delhi Wine Club
LIWF 2011: Low Turnout but encouraging for Indian Wines

Posted: Monday, 30 May 2011 11:57

LIWF 2011: Low Turnout but encouraging for Indian Wines

Although the London International Wine Fair, held at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London on May 17th, 18th and 19th, still remains the largest wine trade event in the UK, it was surprising to see the show noticeably quieter this year, though the Indian stand continued to attract visitors this year too, writes Maureen Kerleau, our Correspondent from London .

Sushmeta and her brother Vir Pancholi with Stephan Spurrier
In fact, arriving at the show from the car park I actually wondered if I was in the right place. In previous years, the whole exhibition hall was buzzing with excitement, the central service area full of food and coffee stalls and giant hoardings, but the end walls seem to be pushed further inwards each year.

I have taken part in the show as an exhibitor, ever since its beginning in the mid 1980’s and for the past two years as a visitor and have seen very noticeable changes. There has always been a lot going on, from South African Folk dancers to glamorous young beauties handing out samples from the different countries exhibiting their wines, but this year I was shocked by the tomb-like silence.

The visitor statistics showed that the actual number of visitors was almost identical to last year – a total of close to 14000 over the three days, but in reality, a large number visited on more than one day as repeats.

However, the good news was that the Indian Wine Stand seemed to be quite an exception, with a lot of activity, at least on the first two days and it was good to see so many Indian Wine VIPs there in person.

The Indian Grape Processing Board took part for the second time this year, with a good number of wine companies. Unfortunately, due to the participation being reportedly a last minute decision, the Indian Wine Stand was at the far end of the hall, which meant less exposure to visitors, compared to last year, where it was located close to the main entrance.

Present were Four Seasons with Ritu,  Mercury Winery with their Aarya range, Vallée de Vin with Zampa, York Winery, Good Earth Winery with a wide range, Fratelli, Château d’Ori, Indage, Reveilo and Nirvana Biosys with their Luca wines. Sula was showing their wines on their importer’s stand Hallgarten Druitt this year.

As the United Kingdom is a key export market for Indian Wines with by far the biggest potential, many of the company heads had made the trip to London. Ravi Jain, the MD of Vallée de Vin, Sham Chougule, of Indage, who is also the Chairman of the IGPB, Abhay Kewadkar, Business Head of Four Seasons and Ranjit Dhuru, CEO of Château d’Ori to name only a few.

The difference this year was that several wineries have taken things one step further and have now tied up with UK-based importers: Four Seasons with Cranbrook Wines, Sula with Hallgarten Druitt and Zampa, very actively with Thierry’s. Several other such associations are also reportedly nearing fruition. York Winery seems to have certainly got a head start with their own UK-based office. Their Director, Ravi Gurnani commented, ‘Indian wines are drawing surprises as people still haven’t heard about them. As of now it’s more about image building for India as a wine producing region. So the trade still perceives Indian wine as a bit of a risk as there isn’t much awareness amongst consumers. As of now it’s a niche product with a novelty and exotic value’.

Indeed, with the large Indian community, an ever-increasing number of Indian restaurants and the availability of so many pre-cooked Indian dishes in the major supermarket chains, Indian wines certainly do have a huge potential market in the UK.

Another new feature this year is the number of medals that had been awarded to Indian wines that had participated in the International Wine and Spirits Challenge. This included Zampa, who won two for their Zampa Syrah 2008 and the Syrah-Cabernet 2009.

I took a friend of mine, Mark Lynton MW around the stands for his very first impressions of Indian Wines. As an ex-wine buyer for a large supermarket chain and agent for a number of large French producers, he was very keen to know if the wines were good value for money (probably imagining that the low price of Indian made goods would also apply to wine). He was taken aback by the relatively high price compared to other wines.

Gurnani put the record straight by conceding that the production costs were relatively high and that the target market for Indian Wines was not the retail chains, but the huge number of Indian restaurants, for whom it is a ‘must’ to serve Indian wines and thus were prepared to pay the price. He was very impressed by all of the wines he tasted, including Ritu blush rosé and their Barrique range, which in his opinion would ‘shine out’ in blind tastings.

What does an Indian winery have to gain by taking a stand in an international wine fair?
Firstly, it is to make the overseas wine consumers aware that wines are actually being produced in India. Secondly, to set the foundation stones for selling and marketing the wines in that country and thirdly, to maintain a presence in the market and regularly meet new and existing customers.

This is nevertheless a very costly business and with the many international wine fairs worldwide, priorities have to be set. From my own experience, a show like London International Wine Fair which is losing visitor numbers rapidly would be better off taking place on alternate years, like Vinexpo. The organisers might already be behind closed doors evaluating their policy for next years.

Maureen Kerleau  



Hollie Says:

This forum nedeed shaking up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

Posted @ June 21, 2011 10:48


Vidha Says:


Hi Maureen Read ur article and felt happy that Indian wines are making big on global front. Read about awardees you mentioned at International Wine Challenge 2011, you mentioned about Zampa in precise but as far as I am aware even Fratelli wine, which is comparatively new wine as it just 8 months old, won award. I feel it is a big achievement for Fratelli Wine and Indian Wine Industry. You should mention their achievement in your article as they have made us proud. Regards Vidha

Posted @ June 08, 2011 12:29


Bharat Deshmukh Says:

gives mixed reaction about the fair but cdertainly encouraging to hear that indian wine producers are finding distributors to place wines in international market. Good to see Viral . congratulations. Regds- Bharat

Posted @ June 06, 2011 17:48


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