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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, July 18 2008. 13:58

Top Ten Importers of India

The number of importers has increased from about 35 a couple of years ago to nearly 80, servicing the foreign wine market  which touched 220,000 of 9-liter cases in 2007-08 and is expanding at over 30% a year despite the sudden and frequently encountered speed-breakers. Indian Wine Academy conducted an extensive survey for Meininger Wine Business International Germany, in which 44 current importers were studied. Here is a report compiled by Subhash Arora.

Distribution of Wine in India

Unrestricted Import of wine and other alcohols has been allowed by the Indian government for over 5 years now. The number of importers has increased from about 35 a couple of years ago to nearly 80 , soon to touch 100 if one considers many new arrivals and the old ones who had stopped importing wine due to stringent laws, heavy duties and a restricted market which is now expanding at over 30% a year.

Distribution Restrictions

The procedure to import remains tightly controlled. The bonded warehouses-public and private, are the initial barriers involving considerable financial investment and bank guarantees.

Excise bonded warehouses and a license is required in each state where the brands have to be registered individually for each label after paying hefty annual  license fee. In Delhi alone, the license to sell wine, beer and liquor costs Rs.5.0 lakhs (about € 8,000) annually for the fiscal year which is from April-March. Even if the license is taken for a month the same amount has to be shelled out, before a single bottle can be sold. The re is no separate, cheaper license for wine only.

The two restrictive measures set a sufficient barrier to the new entrants who are generally forced to use the services of existing bonders. The commission payable for these two services alone varies between 10-20% of the cost of wine. This affects the viability of the small importer who is obliged to rent these services.

Yet, the new importers are making a place for themselves for the future expansion. At the break even of 1200-1500 cases annual sales, there are few exits and the number of importers is steadily going up, though there is  not enough market for all the labels to thrive.

Leaders in Distribution

Primarily due to the two factors, the new importers have not been able to make a significant dent so far and the old order remains. Brindco, the biggest importer, took the pole position and maintained its leadership; it  increased its sales by more than 70% during the last two years, at about 51,000 cases.

Sonarys leapfrogged into the second spot as its own facilities of bonded warehouse  helped it  reach the number of 24,000 cases annually. Moet Hennessy has been promoting aggressively its Champagne and other wines. With the branding created for Moet  & Chandon it has pushed the volumes to 21,000 cases  and pipped Global Tax Free Traders to reach the third spot. Global has been stagnating at around 13,000 cases.


The figures and position of the importer in the hierarchy has been determined by conducting a survey among about 40 of the known importers. A major difficulty in assessing the sales in volumes (value is not a feasible criterion,  as no official figures are available and there are lots of re-exports. In this nascent stage  no importer-big or small  is willing to reveal his revenues).

The import figures based on volume are also not easy to come by. Reliability has been made on the figures disclosed by the importer. Each importer was also asked to estimate the volume of the competitors based on their market reach, brand popularity, market penetration etc. Wherever feasible, different staff members and partners were quizzed at different times.

Another tricky factor to consider was the unsold stocks of imports during the year. Although the left-over  stocks from previous year would have been sold in the current year too, a factoring was done based on the market conditions  to allow for excess left-over stocks this year especially due to the slow down in sales due to Maharashtra imposing heavy excise duties at 200% resulting in practically no sales during July-Nov 2007.

The bulk wine imports have not been included in these statistics. A majority of such wines are bottles as Indian wine and sold as such. Recently Champagne Indage has started importing wine and this will reflect a significant share in the next year's statistics.

Some Interesting Statistics

The total sales of imported wines through legal channels was about 210-220,000 cases in 2007-08 including duty free sales of around 7000 cases nationally. The survey showed higher sales than the generally presumed sales of 180,000-210,000 cases.

The top 3 importers accounted for 96,000 cases which accounted for 44 % sales as compared to 60% about two years ago. The top 5 importers were able to sell a total of 121,500 cases, a share of only about 55 %. It took Top 6 importers to control 60% of the market which the top 3 managed two years ago.

The Top 10 were able to sell 159,000 cases, a 72% share. A further estimation of the next 30 (details not a part of the article) showed a sale of 29,000 cases (13%).

                                                             Page 1 2 3 4 5



Samrat SURESH Says:


Hello folks, I live in Paris, France. Me and my other partner together we export wines to the European union. My partner produces very fine quality of French wine and champagne. We want to expand our Business to India. For further detail contact:

Posted @ May 26, 2017 12:34


Pawan Sethi Says:


I am looking to export CA wines to India. Need to know what the potenial in volume and sales is? Please reach me with any questions.

Posted @ April 03, 2017 16:36


Ashwini Says:


Article is very well detailed. Thank you. AMGO Beverages is a global company, based in Mauritius, representing Arabella Wines/Lords and Zandvliet for export around the world. Do let us know if any importer is interested to expand their portfolio with some South African Wines.

Posted @ February 17, 2017 14:19


Posted By : Vijay Kumar Chouhan

March 04, 2016 15:08

Hello Sir/Madam, This is to all Importer/exporter/foreign clients who wish to import in india or export to india can store wine in FTWZ in West india and in North india. Please contact us Vijay Kr.Chouhan 9818792603 New Delhi


Posted By : Himadri Bal

September 05, 2011 17:25

It is Great artical but a little bit old, Brindco is still no. 1, Balance wine importer position no is not confirmed, in Delhi, Global,Mohan Brother, Hema, Indo Sprit, Dhall Foods & Aspri are the few big names in Delhi, Sonarys is just absolute in Delhi.


Posted By : Subhash Arora

March 08, 2011 15:35

Thanks for the comments, Sidd. We never take out an article howsoever obsolete it gets. You are right, we need to do a retake on the project which was extremely time consuming. During the last 2 years, the importers went underground in parting with the dismal figures. We hope they will be more forthright in coming out with reasonably accurate information. As you might know, there is still not any scientific way of collating the data and we dare to do ithe analysis since we have a fairly good feel for the  pulse of the market. Subhash


Posted By : Sidd Banerji

March 08, 2011 15:30

July 2008 article?? Could not guess the reason.Subhash,please guide.Or take it out and replace with something current.Please. The glamour and vlue of the emag got somewhere tarnished...


Posted By : Ashim Kumar Das

January 11, 2011 12:12

The article is great! Some Italian companies are interested to export their products to India. How they can do that?


Posted By : Gul M

December 22, 2010 17:18

Thanks for writing this article which was very informative, but I think the time has come to up date and republish with more facts. As I am sure as this article was written 2 years back and between these 2 years Indian wine palatte has changed and wine drinkers also gone up. Would like to thanks Indian Wine Academy and DelWine and particularly Cav. Subhash Arora for keeping us upto date with Wine news.


Posted By : Shane Kaushal - ANZ Wine

November 11, 2009 16:25

Hello Subhash, Greetings from New Zealand ! We are New Zealand Owned and Operated (managed by Indians based in New Zealand), global exporters and distributors of finest wines from New Zealand. We are currently planning to enter and develop the market in India for New Zealand Wines. Could you please advise us the current import duties/taxes on wine imports in India. Thanks.


Posted By : Subhash Arora

November 09, 2009 17:45

Yes. It is legal and possible in Gurgaon. Talk to the retailers lke the one outide Sahara Mall or in Galleria and they will guide you. You can also negotiate discounts with them. Subhash Arora.


Posted By : Rajan Ramrakhiani

November 09, 2009 16:25

Need to know if we could sell Wine & Hard Liqour as a part of Gift hampers? What are the norms to be followed? We are a gifting company in Faridabad, Haryana. Call if you wish to guide us or share information about the same. Regards, for Rajan Ramrakhiani 09810201711


Posted By : Sanjay Anand

July 22, 2008 13:35

Very informative article. Impressed !


Posted By : Saurabh

July 22, 2008 13:03

A good effort by Mr. Arora and his team. It is commendable that it is going from strength to strength. However like to point out that there are some import companies who have done more volumes on wines who have not been incorporated. It is a humble suggestion that they also be incorporated in the hall of fame.



July 21, 2008 19:32

Dear Subhash ji,As always a well thought out,cogent and entirely readable article which will serve as a very useful planning tool for Importers/Wine Producers alike. Has created a huge buzz in the Industry. This needs to be made a SIX MONTHLY/YEARLY UPDATE and a very specific QUESTIONAIRE needs to be formulated for information flow from the Importers. Let their Revenue figures be for the time being; if we can focus on even the QUANTUM of PURCHASES, SALES and BALANCE STOCK that will be something which will be of enormous use to the Industry. Congrats and Thanks for being the Trendsetter.


Posted By : Gianander Dua

July 21, 2008 15:28

It a geat effort Mr.Arora,But it will be great if we could have the figures state wise for all the importer knowldge,with there percentage of share in each market.


Posted By : Mark L cohen

July 20, 2008 10:22

we have just sent out first premium wine shipments to India from Australia. we believe the growth in indian consumption will be very slow due to the high impediments to alcohol trade. It would be useful for a complete spread sheet to be published with each Indian provincial registration free duty, and taxes, so one could analyse the whole country at a glance


Posted By : Ashok

July 19, 2008 14:04

It is a good article. We would like to have more coverage on import norms in all the states of India, labelling norms, etc. alongwith costing for each state. Such an article would encourage and boost confidence of new entrants into import of wine business.


Posted By : Priyanka Mehra

July 19, 2008 12:04

Congratulations!!!! On the excellent article on the top ten importers. The article is interesting and the same time extremely informative.


Posted By : Amit Agarwal

July 18, 2008 17:22

Great article... congrats.


Posted By : Sumit Sehgal

July 18, 2008 15:15

Article is very nice but sales reported is less.
Anyways, its a good article.


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