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MIDC Out-of tune on Wine Import Stats

Posted: Thursday, 29 November 2012 11:40

MIDC Out-of tune on Wine Import Stats

November 29: An article in a mainstream daily reporting that India imports only 72,000 cases of wine, attributing the source as the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation which in turn has reportedly taken the information from a Rabo Bank Report, is completely out-of-date and out of line, giving an incorrect picture of the actual market to its readers, asserts Subhash Arora

‘India imports 72,000 cases of wine a year’ screams the headlines of Pune edition of Times of India dateline 28 November. ‘About 32,000 of this is bottled at origin and the other 40,000 cases are imported in bulk flexi bags, which are subsequently bottled by Indian wineries. Besides this, about 12,000-15,000 wine cases are sold through the grey market,’ claims the article based on Time News Network (TNN), the in-house news collection agency.

The figures are nowhere close to reality. Brindco, the top importer alone claims to sell these many cases! Mind you, the report talks of ONLY 32,000 cases of Bottled-in-Origin wines only. Thus, going by their calculation, around 30% of imported wine is being sold through the grey market.

It is interesting that the report has not given any reference or link to the MIDC ‘note’ except saying that ‘it is based on a report prepared by Rabo International Bank.’

The article lists the ‘highest wine consuming countries such as France and Italy has per person wine consumption as high as 60 to 70 liters annually’.  However Barbara Iasiello, Statistician of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the Paris-based UN type of organisation for wines and grapes, which India joined last year, informs delWine that the per capita consumption in 2010, the latest year of available information, was 46.1 liters for France and 40.7 liters in Italy. The corresponding figure for 2011 France is forecast at 47.4L and 37.9 L respectively.

Based on a extensive survey carried out by Indian Wine Academy through regular intervals, delWine had reported a consumption of 280,000 cases (9-liters) in 2011-12 with Brindco as the leading importer. While this figure is considered on the high side by some people in the industry, importers in the Top Ten list like LVMH, Pernod Ricard, Aspri, Mohan Bros, Global Tax Free, and Hema Connoisseur claimed that their figures reported by delWine were on the conservative side.

On the market growth front, the article is overly-optimistic in assuming the current market growth at 30-40% annually and predicting that this rate will continue for the next 5-6 years in keeping with global trends. This is not practically attainable or sustainable under the present government policies on imports and taxation.

The article reports that 80 % of wine consumption is confined to major cities like Mumbai (39 %), Delhi (23 %), Bangalore (9 %) and Goa (9 %) whereas rest of India has only 20 % consumption. The domestic production is reported at 14.5 million liters (1.6 million cases). In 2009-2010, about 0.7 million liters of wine worth Rs. 59.20 million (equivalent of Rs.85/liter or $1.70 at $1=Rs.50; under a measly $1.30 a bottle) was exported to France, Italy, Germany, US, UK, Singapore and Belgium from Maharashtra.

Subhash Arora

As an editorial policy, delWine does not like to comment on any article on wines related to Indian market unless it perceives the article with such incorrect information that it is liable to influence the readers unjustly, unfairly because of the inaccuracies so perceived in this report. We would appreciate if our readers can throw some light on the reported Note from MSIDC or the Rabo Bank report on which the report and this article in TOI is based-editor


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