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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, March 19 2010. 10:58

Vinexpo Study: India Goes Red

If the latest study released by Vinexpo is an indicator, India has gone red-at least in drinking wine during the two years when their study was conducted last, with the study indicating that 72% of the still wines consumed in 2008 were red, only 27% being white and a miniscule 1% Rosé, with further switch of 6% to red wine by 2013. Subhash Arora reports.

The report estimates that 1.05 million cases of red wine were consumed in 2009 in India out of a total of 1.45 million cases. Only 395,000 cases of white wine were opened, leaving 13,000 cases (0.89%) for the Rosé. According to Robert Beynat, CEO of Vinexpo, The forecast for 2013 which takes into account last year’s recession as well, is 2.869 million cases, a growth of 97.15%.

Interestingly, the outlook for red wines is 2.23 million cases in 2013, clocking even higher consumption proportion at 77.62% as compared to the 72% in 2009. White wines are forecasted to find even smaller percentage of drinkers at only 21.79%. The Rosé is tipped to stagnate at a projected increase of only 4000 cases in 4 years, at the estimated consumption of 17,000 cases.

The study had been commissioned by Vinexpo to the UK based International Wine and Spirits Record which has been producing a detailed report on global consumption, production and international trade for wine and spirits covering 28 wine producing nations and 114 markets for them for several years. It was presented by Madame Dominique Dubreuil Chairman of Vinexpo Asia Pacific and Beynat on Wednesday at Hotel Imperial Delhi to journalists and the trade.

Apparent Variance

The forecast does seem to project a rather optimistic current scenario and is at variance with the figures given by leading Indian producers. According to Rajeev Samant, CEO and owner of the biggest wine company since 2009, Sula Vineyards, informs delWine ‘I can give you the final figures for 2009-10 only next month but 45% of the wines we sell are reds, 40% are white, 10% are sparkling and 5% are Rosé. If one were to exclude sparkling wines for comparisons, red wines would be 50%, whites a closer 44.4% and Rosé 5.6% in the still wine category- the study giving these figures as 71.96%, 27.15% and 0.89% respectively.

Grover Vineyards, another well-established player for a couple of decades has an interesting story. ‘We have been fairly consistent over the years, i.e., 65% red, 30% white and 5% Rosé,’ says the Director Kapil Grover, adding ‘a word of caution, though. Our Rose figure is probably higher than others because of a major part being exported to France.’ Grover has been traditionally a red wine producer, producing a rather listless white wine. But with the additional zingy pair of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier during the last 2-3 years, there might have been a paradigm shift towards whites. Says Aman Dhall, owner of Brindco, a partner with Grover and managing marketing says that according to his latest estimate, around 60% of their wines sold are reds, with 34% whites and around 5-6% Rosé.    

Giving the study a benefit of doubt, Indage Vintners could have been the wild card in the data collection last year, as no reliable information appeared to come from them and no one seems to have the correct picture with wine stocks floating up and down the distributors as also on paper-with a significant wine spoilages in the tank-to-bottle not ruled out, but still a part of the consumption figures.

One also hopes they did not ascertain figures of consumption based on the quantity of wine in the tanks which may or may not ever see the wine glass. In fact, this could be a major source of discrepancy in making the consumption figures overly optimistic. Maharashtra vintners are quite boastful of equating wine consumption figures with what is in the tank. 

We are currently selling 57% of our wines in the red category, 35% are white while the balance 8% are Rose, ’says Abhay Kewadkar, Head of Business Division and Chief Winemaker of the Bangalore- based Four Seasons, the wine division  of United Spirits, selling Zinzi and Four Seasons labels.

Take the example of Tonia, a Goa based winery perhaps unknown beyond the western ghats. Not only do they make domestic wine in small quantities, they also import wine, bottle wine and make ‘port’ wine too. ‘We sell 7,000 cases of reds against 6,000 cases of white with small quantities of Rose (300 cases) and sparkling (300 cases) wines,’ says Mario Sequeira, the Director. But wait- he sells 112,000 cases of ‘port’ wines, ‘fermenting grapes and fortifying them with alcohol,’ he says. Since this is 15% + alcohol wine, it would be interesting to know in which table or chart his wines find themselves in the IWSR report!

Optimistic 2009

The survey puts the total consumption of wine in India in 2009 at a whopping 1.709 million cases, 229,000 of them imported, estimating their share at a mere 13.4%. The projected 459,000 cases of imported wines in 2013 reflects a 100% growth in 4 years while the Indian industry is expected to grow at 84% from 1,480,000 cases to 2,725,000 cases, the total market being presumed at 3.184 million cases.

These figures in the charts do not include wine with over 15% alcohol; it is not clear whether the fortified ‘port’ wines are a part of the total estimated consumption or are additional.

While the still wine industry is expected to grow by 97.15% from 2009 to 2013, the sparkling wine is projected to be a relative laggard, growing from 254,000 cases in 2009 (someone please tell me I have read the figures wrong!) to 316,000 cases in 4 years, growing by a mere 24.21%.

Both Dominique and Robert answered questions after presenting pertinent figures for India. Despite a few minor possible aberrations due to the imperfect reporting and data collection system in India, the report is well compiled with a lot of ‘positive thinking’. The section about statistics in Asia will be particularly relevant to the Indians.
Vinexpo Asia pacific 2010

And now time for the commercial break- a public service announcement. Please don’t go away!

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific is presenting its 8th Show outside France, in Hong Kong from 25-27 May. 800 exhibitors are taking part in the show. Unfortunately, no Indian winery has participated, till last Friday, the closing time, according to Beynat, though the show has been fully booked. But the organisers hope many Indians will visit the trade-only event being held for the 4th time in this country.

‘Hong Kong has no visa issue, no barriers, no taxes, is easier to trade, located centrally and people from all over Asia come there,’ says Beynat. It is held every 2 years in Bordeaux. The alternate even years take it to Asia. Hong Kong seems to have established itself as a long term partner venue, with the third consecutive time of hosting it this year.

Not many in the audience might have known that Mme Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, the chairman of Vinexpo Asia pacific is also the chairman of the € 312 million Remy Martin Group known for its Remy Martin Cognacs, Piper Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagnes and Cointreau liqueur etc. She had reportedly spent the previous day studying the Indian market first hand before presenting the IWSR study.

The Highlight

Perhaps, the biggest highlight of the event was not only the excellent high tea served by the Imperial staff after the event, but the Pape-Clement Pessac Léognan White 2005 from Bernard Magrez.  Perhaps being a very high priced wine, some stocks were left unsold somewhere or left for ‘dead’. Fans of premium Bordeaux Blanc like me had a feast-it was drinking beautifully with a great balance and harmony and still fresh on the palate. I had no shame in joining the 27% minority of white wines and drinking a glass more than delWine recommends to our readers.

For more info, visit

For an earlier relevant article on the IWSR report in delWine click

Subhash Arora



Miss Yegas Naidoo Says:

Thank you for presentation of these statistics in a more easily digestible format Mr Arora. I am staggered by your identification of the 112000 Cases of "Port" wine sold by Tonia. Please let us know where this was featured, if at all, in the IWSR report. Thank you.

Posted @ March 23, 2010 12:25


Subhash Arora Says:

Regarding Indage Vintners, read the following article

Posted @ March 22, 2010 18:00 Says:

FYI - Indage UK has gone into administration!

Posted @ March 22, 2010 13:00


Rajeev Samant Says:

Errr....that's 500,000 cases above our estimate...and 15% different with the red-white split.. Subhash could you help us out with your own calculations, being the wine wizard of the country? RS

Posted @ March 22, 2010 12:50


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