Madhulika Bhattacharya, Chief Consumer, La Cave
Educating the customer is the key to the growth of the sparkling wine market, according to
Madhulika Bhattacharya, the creator of the fine wine boutique, La Cave, which stocks 310 labels at the Select Citywalk, Saket New Delhi.
Having caught the attention of aficionados and novices alike with her consumer friendly wine appreciation events, Bhattacharya is all for “communication in friendly, non- intimidating ways” to let people grasp such basic information as the difference between champagne and prosecco, for instance. “Keeping this objective in mind, we do a number of interesting consumer- led events at partner hotels and restaurants that are primarily education based without being intimidating to the guests.”
“Customers find prosseco and other non- c ham pagne sparkling wines a lot more pocket friendly and approachable than champagne.”
Sharing her insights into consumer behaviour, Bhattacharya says pricing remains the most important factor in determining purchase decisions in the Indian context. It is this factor that’s been primarily responsible for the surge in popularity of prosecco and other non-champagne sparkling wines. “Customers find them a lot more pocket friendly and approachable than champagne,” says Bhattacharya.
Brand name and quality follow pricing in the hierarchy of factors driving purchase decision. The price advantage and improving quality, for instance, are responsible for the sudden rise in the popularity of Indian sparkling wines. And among them, Bhattacharya rates Chandon as a “good and popular product among the top-selling sparkling wine brands in India”.
The biggest spoiler, though, the burdensome import duty and excise load on liquor imported into India. “The system is also extremely complicated, for each state follow its own registration and excise laws, which affects the ease of doing business,” says Bhattacharya. Tax reliefs from the Centre and the states, Bhattacharya adds, can go a long way in ensuring better growth for the wine market across categories. But is anyone listening?