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Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
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Brindco leads Top Ten Importers List 2015-16

Posted: Friday, 28 October 2016 16:38


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Brindco leads Top Ten Importers List 2015-16

Oct 28: The erstwhile leading wine importer Brindco tops the list of 2015-16 with a sale of 71,500 cases with the last year’s leading importer Pernod Ricard relegated back to the second place, which nevertheless claims they still hold the top position. But they don’t share the exact information and relying on our market intelligence Brindco’s claims seem more justified. Subhash Arora reports it was a record year for the imported wine segment with sales flirting with the 400,000 mark and the smaller importers clocking growth of 30-50%, even though they fear the government policy speed breakers again threaten to be a damper this year

Click For Large ViewOur estimates place Pernod Ricard at the second place with 65,000 cases. They lost precious period last year when their big shipments were rejected earlier by FSSAI for reasons not accepted by the High Court later. The containers carrying wine were released but the damage was done to the sales during the earlier part. We have also brought down the estimates for Moet Hennessy to 25,000 cases due to a continued feedback from the market in the past years that several thousand cases of the estimated import of 35,000 cases imported into India this year were re-exported and it’s not fair to include them for the purpose of wine consumption in India.

There have also been purists who claim that Pernod Ricard is not really an importer but a Distributor which merely distributes its own label like other distributors who are multi-brand distributors. Same thing has also been said about Moet Hennessy India which has been importing wines produced by the same company. The logic of transfer pricing is often given to justify this thinking. In our view the debate is not relevant for our purpose since as we are concerned with the total wine consumed in India and consequently the size of their share. However, in the absence of any information supplied by the company, we have corrected the supply within India for local consumption to 25,000 cases based on several import experts who feel these figures are still on the high side.

Aspri managed to recover most of the lost ground last year and claims the sale of over 28,500 cases, with Zonin and Distell, the star performers in their portfolio shining brightly. Compared to the disastrous 2014-15, their sales have increased by a third.  But for the indirect government interference the growth might have been even higher, indicating the latent market demand which cannot be tapped due to various government policies.

Top Ten 2015-16

Here is a list of Top Ten importers in 2015-16. It must be clarified that the figures are estimates; we have relied on information beyond the official data which is scarce and can be confusing to the naked eye-and expensive to get. We are in fact considered ‘bold’ for publishing this data and sticking our neck out since no official source releases the data.

Many importers like Moet Hennessy India and Pernod Ricard and even a few small importers of no consequence are tight lipped about their figures. It has been compiled by repeated questioning, surveys, frequent one-to-one chats with importers, hotels, restaurants and cross-checking with competitors, relying on the goodwill gained by delWine for objectivity and neutrality over the years. The results are published on ‘Without Prejudice’ basis. For the first time, we are giving comparison for the last 4 years in order to gauge the performance of each importer and study the trends.

  Importer 2012-13  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Rank









Pernod Ricard














Moet Hennessy














Berkmann India














Hema Connoisseur







Wine Park






Mohan Bros







Global Tax Free             














Growth y-y



( 8.33%)

 15.72 %


The total sales by the Top Ten increased by 15.72% to 295,100 from the previous year. This is in congruence with the industry estimates of 15% by the industry. Top Ten control about 70% of the total market, including sales by duty free shops and wines carried by incoming passengers in their bags. Although with many small importers entering the fray with sub 2000 case sales, this figure would be more likely between 65-70% and in the years come would come down. We are still taking the figure of 70% to be conservative in our estimates. 

Based on the estimate of 70% sales by the Top Ten, the total market may be estimated to have been 421, 000 cases- say between 400,000-420,000 cases-closer to the lower figure, according to the pessimistic importers. The figures include the estimates on hand carried bottles, purchase through duty free shops on arrival but not what is imported by the diplomats directly. Jacobs Creek is still the biggest imported Brand in India today- miles ahead of other brands. It has singlehandedly brought Australian wines to the no.1 position as imports, perhaps followed by France and Italy as the ‘Brands’. Moet Hennessy is infamously known to re-export of champagnes from India but the figures are never disclosed. Based on several chats with various outsiders, we have scaled down their consumption figure for India, making it lose one rank, to the fourth position.

The performance by smaller importers (around 4,000-7,000 cases) has been a mixed bag. Ace Beveragez, Agnetta, Rad Elan and Lake Forest etc. have maintained steady growth (over 20%) on a small base. Opera, Ixora etc. are hanging in there whereas at least two importers brought their shutters down last year. Many newer, smaller ones faded away, unsung. The net result seems to have been 20% + import by all the non-Top Ten put together. Balance 10% is assumed to be duty free sales and passengers getting wines as samples, or carrying in as a part of the baggage.

Trends in the current year

The current year started with great optimism. There were smiles on the faces of all importers who seemed to have had a good year and made real profits for the first year. FSSAI issues had been practically resolved even though it has meant many overseas producers discontinuing exports to India and a few consigned to oblivion.

However, the excise policy in Delhi for 2016-17 has been a damper this year in Delhi whereas Mumbai has been bogged down by most hotels not getting the extension of duty-free licenses. Apparently due to the Delhi government embroiled in crisis management, did not announce the policy till last week. Every 15 days the previous year’s policy was being extended. Now that the time for Diwali (compare it with Christmas overseas for wine sales) supplies and sales was near, the Delhi government suddenly announced no extension after 16 October. This means no fresh supplies may be made till new registration is done. It would be a miracle if any supplies can be made before Diwali. The importers fear a loss of sales and have resigned to another no-growth year.

Tastings Galore

The importers have nonetheless seen the light at the end of the tunnel and feel ‘pull’ from the consumer like never before. In order to consolidate their position or increase their share in the medium term, many importers have become aggressive and have been organising road shows and tastings for trade and consumers in order to increase the reach of their brands,

Sula organised a road show with 40 wine labels in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore- both domestic and imported and have become quite aggressive to take on Jacob’s Creek with Accolade Wines promoting Hardys like never-before. Sula had declared it wants to be a leading player in the sub Rs.2000 market and a leader in the sub 1500 French wine segment. Brindco showcased around 50 labels at the WOW (World of Wines) event organised by the delWine Excellence Awards in September in Pullman Aerocity. It went on to have even a bigger wine event at the Oberoi a couple of weeks ago. Wine Park has organised a tasting of 24 labels in Mumbai, Pune and plans it in Bangalore and soon in Delhi after he has registered the labels in Delhi for self distribution. After hosting it for 2 years, Fratelli has already planned a big event on January 18, 2017 at Hyatt Regency. Events of this nature are in plentiful; they not only give the consumer an opportunity to taste but also makes them loosen their purse strings.

If all goes well, only 10% increase is on the cards-lower than the 15% achieved in 2015-16.

For an earlier related Article, visit

Top Ten Importers 2014-15: Pernod Pips Brindco to the Post

Roller Coaster Ride with same Top Ten Importers

Subhash Arora


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Martin Perez Cambet Says:

Regards from a winery in Mendoza, Argentina

Posted @ January 30, 2017 17:18


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