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BRWSC 2016 : Asian Producers promoting Region wines through AWPA

Posted: Tuesday, 25 October 2016 11:08


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BRWSC 2016 : Asian Producers promoting Region wines through AWPA

Oct 25: The First ‘Asian Wine & Spirit Forum and Tasting – The Silk Route’ organised by Vinopres of Belgium had 2 days of wine seminars and tastings, the first-day-first-show being an interesting, insightful presentation by Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of Grover Zampa Ltd. in his ‘avatar’ as the current Chairman of the Asian Wine Producers Association, giving us the insights into the 2-year old organisation of Asian producers promoting Asian wines. Subhash Arora reports

Click For Large ViewThe Asian Wine Producer Association was formed in 2013 during the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair. After several years of discussion among wine producers in several countries in Asia, a Steering Committee met at the HKWSTF to consider a membership charter, a functional focus and a range of practical activities that would benefit members.  This conclusion was then presented to a broader group of wine producers attending the Fair and 10 Foundation Memberships committed to join.  India, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand were the principal signatories of the Asian Wine Producer Association with Sula Vineyards (India), Grover Zampa Vineyards (India), Hatten Wines (Indonesia),  Château Mercian (Japan) and GranMonte (Thailand) being the eventual founding wineries out of the present membership.

York Winery (India), Sababy Wines (Indonesia), Myanmar Vineyards (Myanmar) and Silver Lake Vineyard and Village Far Winery (Thailand) have since joined the Association, said Sumedh Singh Mandla, Chairman of AWPA while starting the seminar.

Key Objectives

Asian Wine Producers Association comprises of premium wineries across Asia which own or manage vineyards and produce premium grape wine from locally grown grapes.

The key objectives of AWPA are to promote recognition of Asian Wines and Asia as a respected wine region and to allow Asian Wine Producers to exchange and obtain global industry inputs. They would like to create awareness and enhance the image of AWPA and its members at international platform and promote AWPA region on international wine tourism circuit. It is an active forum comprising of winemakers, vineyard managers and wine marketers to facilitate exchange of knowledge, skill and best practices of their respective regions.

Why Asian Wines

Click For Large ViewAccording to the information shared by Mandla through a Chart, wine sales in EU have been actually declining in absolute terms during the recent period since 2002 whereas the rate of growth in the US has slowed down and Japan has reached a plateau.

Asian markets including China have been growing not only in terms of production but also in consumption, making it an important production center on the world stage. Giving the growth of production from 2002 to the projected figure for 2017, The EU sales see a drop from $ 61,000 m to $52,299m, whereas the growth in the USA is consistent from $14,800m to $25,388 m but the growth rate declining from the earlier growth of about 20%. Japan is quite stagnant with the growth barely from $4,030m to 4,468 m in 15 years! Asia is seeing a boom with the figures growing from $4,630m to $27,240m.

New Latitude Wines

Click For Large ViewThere are Old World Wines and there are New World Wines. In both cases, the countries are located within the latitude band of 30° and 50°. Counties like India, Thailand, Myanmar and parts of China are outside this limit.  New Latitude Wines is a newly coined term referring to wines made from grapes grown out of the above traditional grape-cultivating latitudes. Wines made in the pioneering tropical locations for which this term has been used, include Thailand, India, China, Myanmar, Brazil and Indonesia, said Sumedh. He added that these countries have innovated and found viticultural solutions for their locations and unusual weather that includes facing the monsoons or burying the wines in the freezing winter or harvesting twice a year at the cost of good quality. He clarified that countries like India and Thailand take out only one harvest and not two as many people wrongly speculated, using various techniques to counter the absence of dormancy.

Domestic Wine Industry in Asia

Wine is being made from locally grown grapes in 13 countries across Asia. Besides, there are ‘minor scale’ or experimental projects in Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

He said that ‘the biggest producer is China, now ranked No. 5 Wine Producing Nation Globally by OIV,’ (it is 6th according to the latest estimate from OIV). Please check out Italy Biggest Wine Producer in 2016 despite Drop

The next largest is Japan, followed by India, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia (Bali).  Here is the ranking of the countries and the number of wineries and the percentage of the market the local wine  industry enjoys:

 China (800+ wineries: 85% of market)
 Japan (200 wineries: 25% of market)
 India (80+ wineries: 90% of market)
 Thailand (12 wineries: 30% of market)
 South Korea (20+ wineries)
 Indonesia (5 wineries)
 Wine also produced in Myanmar, Vietnam, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Cambodia and now) Hong Kong, said Mandla.


Total number of wineries is over 80, as the exact number is not known due to some wineries being on paper but otherwise non-operational.  Indian wines have captured  90% of the total market share including the imported wines. Key producers are Grover Zampa , Sula , Four Seasons , Nine Hills, Fratelli , York , Reveilo and Krsma, Grover Zampa and Sula are the biggest exporters and their wines are exported to over 30 countries, with Indian Wines winning several awards in International Competitions.. He indicated that about 61% production was red wines while slightly less than 34% was white wine with the balance 5% being Rose wine.


Traditional alcohols -arak (glutinous rice spirit), Tuak (palm wine), Brem (black rice wine) still thrive in Indonesia. Spirits & local fruit wines are produced and sold to locals who often consume fruit wines for medicinal purposes. But beer has a huge market throughout the country, accounting for 85% of the total market. Wine is divided into segments with different wants & needs, with Local Jakarta being the trendy market.

There are 5 wineries in Indonesia, located in Bali.  Hatten Wines is the founding member and the market leader and along with Sababay Wines make wine from ‘vine to wine’, and are members of the AWPA. Plaga Wines, Artisan Wines and Cape Discovery make wines from imported juice or concentrates from Latin America and/or Australia.


Click For Large ViewJapan is associated with good quality in the region. Grape-growing is presumed to have begun at Yamanashi, major wine and grape producing region now. Wine may have been made from local grapes earlier.  In 1875, the first commercial winery was established in Katsunuma, Yamanashi, now a part of Mercian winery-the second largest company in Japan.. The industry is concentrated in Yamanashi, Nagano, Hokkaido. Local wines command 30% of the market share but Japan has the biggest range of grape varieties in active use in winemaking in Asia, using a few unique grape varieties as well.

There are over 230 wineries- Hokkaido, Mercian, Suntory and Sapporo being the top wineries.  Japan has the biggest annual per-capita consumption of wine in Japan at 4 litres, highest in Asia. Although it has also the highest beer consumption in Asia, Japan is still Asia Pacific's second biggest wine importing country and the 6th biggest consumer of imported wines worldwide, according to Mandla. In Japan, vines are grown from Hokkaido in the North and Oita in the South.


Though it has a relatively recent history, the hai wine industry formed a national Thai Wine Association (TWA) in 2004 to promote quality wines made from locally grown grapes. It has a challenging conventional viticulture with a unique labelling code in the region. There are 12 wineries controlling 30% of the market share. Like in India and China locals also prefer Red wine, with Syrah and Chenin Blanc being the ‘signature’ grapes, said Mandla through his Power point presentation.  It has also some unique local varieties. Changing culture has resulted in new wine bars and wine shops fostering the growth of wine culture.


Mandla emphasised on the growing awareness about wine and the culture across the Asian regions. He mentioned that the per capita consumption of wine was still low. Hence consumption of wine will continue to grow in the region. Higher growth is expected in the number of producers and scale of operations. There is a continuous experimentation and refinement of winemaking processes to produce higher quality. There is more and more refinement of styles with classic grape varieties and with expanding international recognition.  There is also greater emphasis on unique Asian varieties and styles. He spoke particularly of the Koshu grape, a Japanese initiative and said it was worth watching the increasing popularity of this grape variety. There is growing presence of Asian wines in the global markets, especially paired with Asian cuisines. Japan, India and Thailand are the countries to watch, he said even as he stressed the growth of Wine tourism across the region.

Short term Action Plan for AWPA

Sumedh talked about the short term plan chalked out by the Association to promote common objectives which include a joint representation of the member wineries in important international fairs in 2016. He cited the examples of ProWein in Germany, Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair in Hong Kong and the biennial ProWine Singapore that debuted this year. They also plan to conduct wine tasting seminars during these fairs.

The Association is keen to increase the AWPA membership base by adding premium quality producers from the Asian regions. ‘We want china and Korea in the Association. We would also like to add more producers from Japan. We have already been in touch with some Chinese producers.  I have also generated a few leads to explore,’ says Sumedh Singh Mandla.

In order to have the consumers come directly in touch with quality wines from the members AWPA plans to organise Consumer Wine Evenings to promote award winning wines of all members. Promotion event with Decanter Asia, HKTDC in Hong Kong or Winestate in Sydney, Australia are some of such events planned. ‘We shall also work towards motivating global wine journalists, educators and publications to include Asian wine regions in their literature and articles (We were not asked to write this Article- it is purely voluntary since we empathise with Asian wines and producers-editor). There would be an Information Exchange on best practices, key suppliers for wine production and marketing related material to take advantage of each other’s experience,’ he said.

Social Media

Social media is an important tool for promotion, he said, adding, ‘We shall have an active blog from vineyard and wine-making team of AWPA members. There will be regular updates on Digital Media- our website and the Facebook page. There will be a Connoisseur Corner on our website to encourage higher consumer traffic, both in terms of quality and quantity. We shall address consumer queries on wine regions, food pairing and wine tourism in Asia.

Sumedh concluded by saying that the Association plans to develop the Asian Wine Trail. It will be designed to cover Asian wine producing regions & the AWPA members. These will be promoted through premium tour operators.

There seem to be exciting times ahead for the Asian producers. The Association has its hands full and it would be in their interest to show some results that would more producers to join the bandwagon. If any of our readers is an Asian wine producer or would like some producer in his or her country to join for the common cause of promoting Asian wines, you are welcome to correspond directly with the current chairman of AWPA- Sumedh Singh Mandla at

For an earlier Article regarding the founding of the Association and some more information, please visit: Asian Producers form Association at Hong Kong Fair

For earlier Articles on the Conference and he Competition, please visit

BRWSC 2016: Wine Tourism is the Key

BRWSC 2016: Grover La Reserve cracks the Code for Gold

Subhash Arora

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