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Survey: Top Ten Importers of India 2012

Posted: Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:47

Survey: Top Ten Importers of India 2012

May 23 : Despite the down and up swings in the wine market during the last 4 years when delWine conducted the first-ever Indian survey of wine importers in India, the consumption has gone up to about 270,000 cases and Brindco continues to be the leader, consistently increasing its gap between the runner-up, writes Subhash Arora who dared to conduct another survey on behalf of delWine despite lack of reliable data.

Brindco has been the leading importer since 2004 and continues to be so, even increasing the gap between the second on the list. With an estimated sale of over 70,000 cases and supported by a strong distribution channel pan- India, supported by the spirits and beer business, it controls over a quarter of the wine market, despite continually pruning its wine list due to heavy registration and inventory costs  and concentrating more on cheaper brands because of high taxes.

There is a neck to neck race for the next 3 positions being claimed by Aspri, Pernod Ricard and Moet & Hennessy at around 27,000, 28,000, and 26,000 cases respectively. While Aspri has seen the fastest growth during this year and deserves a second place, Pernod-Ricard has built up its business through marketing the single largest selling imported brand in India-Jacobs Creek, even though it is often accused of using the leverage of its popular liquor brands including Chivas Regal to boost its sale and using it in cross-promotions. Moet Hennessy principally imports own Champagne labels including Dom Perignon, the ubiquitous Moet Chandon and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, besides a reducing number of labels of still wines from its foreign stables.

After hitting a high of around 220,000 cases in 2007, the Indian wine imports saw it nose dive to estimated figures of as low as 150,000 in 2008 during the recession triggered by the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 and followed by the global meltdown. After steadying in 2010-11, the industry has seen a happy growth of over 25% from the previous year and is expected to have crossed the figure of 270,000 cases for the 2011-12 ending on March 31, 2012 making it about 18% of total wine consumption, according to our survey.

Sula has been expanding seriously during the last couple of years and with constant reshuffling of portfolios has managed to flirt with the 14,000-case level making it the 5th top player. At around 166,000 cases, the Top Five control over 60% of the market.

Prestige Wines (Torres- Thapar-Grant Drouhin  JV) gets the 6th position at around 12,000 cases, barely edging past  Berkmann Cellars India, a subsidiary of the UK based importer who with the plum inclusion of Antinori in its portfolio, snatched from Sonarys a couple of years ago, can boast the sale of around 11,000 cases.

While Global Tax-Free which has been sliding since the last survey conducted by Meininger Wine Business International seems to be barely managing at the similar numbers of 8,000 Mohan Bros. has been gradually expanding the portfolio and closely follows at 7,000 cases which do not include the Moet Chandon stable it has been actively distributing in Delhi and several other parts of India for several years.

Hema makes the cut by the skin of its teeth with around 5000 cases.  The Top Ten control over 75% of the imported wine market. Here is the list of based on market intelligence gathered through various sources including the customs records and regular cross-referencing between importers, consultants and other stakeholders in wine imports:





Pernod Ricard 


















Global Tax Free



Mohan Bros.



Hema Conn.  

5,000 <See Comments Below>

There is a band of importers which fall in the 2000-5000 cases category with a steady growth and/or established position. This includes Ace Beveragez, Amfora, FineWinesNmore, Hi Spirits, Nature’s Bounty, Radico Khaitan, Sonarys, Kingfisher Bohemia, UB which now imports only its own French label Bouvet- Ladubay and Wine Park.

There are currently about 50-60 importers in India out of which 40 were identified for the survey and there estimated sales calculated. The Duty Free Shops at various airports make an annual sale of around 18,000 cases. This segment is now growing fast with better displays and wider selection available because of increasing popularity of wines; it naturally includes wine sold to the outgoing passengers too.

It is practically impossible to collect reliable data of imports with non-centralization by the government agencies. The importers are generally wary of giving accurate data and a constant interaction throughout the year and a continuous cross referencing is crucial. Companies with foreign hand, like Pernod Ricard and Moet and Hennessey are not authorized to divulge any information by the overseas masters. There are several mom or pop stores which occasionally import a few pallets to maintain the importer status or possibly enjoy free foreign jaunts. Then there is the issue of re-exports to Maldives; some figures may include the product into India on records but re-exported. Even these importers agree that it is not feasible to keep an accurate watch on these figures.

The figures of imports include the estimates of hand carried wines by passengers from overseas as well as the samples imported through various channels. They also include sales through the diplomatic channels which invariably include a small leakage into the gray market without any monetary loss to the exchequer. 

No significant change is expected in this pecking order during the next couple of years which are expected to see an annual compounded growth of 25% in the imported wine market, except Aspri clearly clinching the second spot and Prestige inching up possibly to the 5th spot, provided Iran or Greece does not play spoil sports.

Subhash Arora

The article is reproduced from an article written for Meininger’s Wine Business International  for which the write is India correspondent and the issue containing the article has been released recently. A few minor changes have been made where post- March 31 some known differences might have been observed- editor  

After the article was published, Hema confirmed a sale of 12730 cases and is willing to show the proof of sales which will be duly verified by us soon. In the meantime, the figures given stand corrected provisionally. After verifying the figures we shall correct their position in Top Ten too. This would also mean that the net sales  of imported wines would go up about 7,500 cases-editor

For earlier article Click Here

For MWBI article Click Here



Subhash Arora Says:

We breathe only wine. Arora

Posted @ October 03, 2016 16:35


Sunil Khire Says:

We are Manufacture of Ultra Premium Gin & Vodka Based in New Zealand. & our is boutique products . When we refer to “boutique” we are referring very much to the manufacturing process and quality of our product We Use 15 Organic Ingredients in Our Manufacturing Process With Well Crafted Blend. We Do not use any Artificial flavours & colours,all are real organics ingredients use in our Blend We are the only Ultra Premium Polynesian Spirit, this distinguishes us from other brands Please Note Our products are Triple Distilled & Gluten Free as well Looking for opportunity to work in INDIA

Posted @ October 03, 2016 16:25


Gurpreet Singh Says:

Hi I am an entrepreneur based in Sydney Australia currently exploring wine exporting opportunities to India. Please advise if you would be interested. I will be in India for a week reaching on 29th April. Regards Gurpreet Singh Director- SHS Ventures Pty. Ltd.

Posted @ October 14, 2012 11:47


Pramod Krishna Says:

I have been speaking to the importers about the issues of labeling, sampling & standards now required under the new fssa law which will create huge problems. Ciabc has gone to court on this issue. Regards Pramod Krishna

Posted @ September 28, 2012 14:34


Subhash Arora Says:

Based  on the figures given by Hema  Conn. (exact sales by the label –to the case, but not verified), it is reasonable to assume that his total sales including those to the diplomats which are a part of our consumption sub-set, is around 12,000. Due to confidentiality reasons, we never divulge these details. Prestige had claimed close to 13,000. Therefore, we award a Tie for the 6th position to Prestige and Hema, bringing down Berkmann to no. 8, Global no. 9 and Mohan at no.10.

Apropos the article, we have received several compliments and  comments -some questioning the validity of the data, claiming higher sales for themselves and lower for the competition etc. While we do not claim accuracy (In India, such Report HAS to come from LONDON to be accepted as accurate), but as Meininger’s Wine Business International of Germany says, delWine should be given a bravery award for undertaking the project. Companies like LVMH and Pernod refuse to divulge any figures and we rely on our constant questioning and cross-questioning of the trade and hospitality industry. It has also come to our attention that LVMH which trades mostly in Champagne and that too MC and DP (their still wines have dwindled to insignificant numbers) , has made faster progress and is perhaps close to 30,000- a good sign that Champagne is finally at a take-off stage.  However, for this edition, we are not changing our numbers.

We hope for the next edition, importers would be more forthcoming and share accurate information with us. I must stress that delWine does not interfere or comment on the way any business is conducted unless it means selling expired products, changing labels and thus selling fake wines or generally charging higher prices than declared to the government- editor

Posted @ July 10, 2012 14:45


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