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Millennials Leading the Charge

The wine consumption in India is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Wine is shedding its image as a hard liquor alternative and becoming a mainstream beverage, perceived as healthier and socially acceptable. The growth is fuelled by desire for exploration and diversity among consumers, says Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India.

By Spiritz Desk
New Update
Millennials Leading the Charge

The millennial generation, a powerful demographic with increasing spending power, and especially women, are leading the charge. They prioritise quality over quantity and are more adventurous in their choices.

"The trend towards premiumisation is another key factor, with consumers willing to invest in better quality wines. Additionally, the health-conscious crowd is driving the rise of no and low-alcohol options that offer the taste of wine without the full alcohol content. The expansion of specialty retailers further fuels this growth by offering convenient access to a wider range of wines," Kartik elaborates.

Traditional & Trendy

According to Kartik, while traditional varietals like Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon remain popular, reflecting the growing sophistication of Indian wine enthusiasts, especially the millennials among them, there are exciting new trends emerging.

Consumers are now experimenting with Tempranillo, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. "Sparkling wines and rosé too are becoming increasingly popular among young urban consumers," he adds. 

Recognising the growing interest in non-alcoholic options, Pernod Ricard India has recently introduced Jacob's Creek Unvined, a range of refreshing and elegant alcohol-free wines with less than 0.5 percent alcohol. This caters to wine lovers seeking an alternative to enjoy during special occasions and is conveniently available through e-commerce platforms like Blinkit and Amazon.

JC Chardonnay

 

Taking the Initiative

With leading brands in each category, Pernod Ricard holds one of the most dynamic and premium portfolios in the industry. And India being one of its fastest growing business sectors in the global context, it is committed to the 'Make and Innovate in India' initiative, which is reflected in its sales portfolio within the country, which comprises over 90 percent of domestically produced brands.

"With six overseas manufacturing locations including Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Nigeria and Cameroon, and a global footprint in 50+ countries, Seagram's whiskies are being exported to 33 countries across the world," the CMO reveals.

With over 30 years of rich legacy and operations in India, the company operates through its distillery in Nashik in Maharashtra apart from 24 bottling sites across the country.

"Pernod Ricard India's wines portfolio, in particular, encompasses Jacob's Creek, Campo Viejo, Brancott Estate and St Hugo. Jacob's Creek has a rich heritage dating back to 1847, with the wines showcasing the unique terroir of Australia's most esteemed wine regions, offering a diverse selection to suit every palate-blending traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques," explains Kartik.

Campo Viejo epitomises the vibrant spirit and rich flavours of Spain's La Rioja region, with the wines artfully combining traditional winemaking practices with innovation and passion. Established in 1973, Brancott Estate's winery is situated in New Zealand, crafting exceptional wines that express the distinct terroir of Marlborough and capture the region's crisp and vibrant flavours in every bottle. Additionally, St Hugo - its most recent launch in India - is where the perfect balance of power and elegance comes into play, honouring the legacy of South Australia's Barossa winemaking legend, Hugo Gramp.

Shifting Trends

JC Shiraz Cabernet

Kartik thinks that in the Indian context, with premiumisation and evolving consumer palates, white wines have started to gain appeal. "Indian consumers are appreciating the versatility of white wines especially with a variety of local cuisines. 

Sparkling Wine is also gaining traction in India," he asserts while adding that the increasing popularity of white wines globally can be attributed to several factors, including changing weather patterns, changing consumer preferences and rise in demand of sparkling wines.

Another new trend in India's wine industry is the rise in home consumption. With increasing availability and affordability of quality wines, more individuals are opting to enjoy wine in the comfort of their homes, fostering intimate gatherings and culinary experiences.

"There is also a growing appreciation for diverse wine experiences beyond the traditional. As more individuals embrace experimentation, ways of consumption such as mulled wine and sangria become beloved choices for cosy gatherings and festive occasions, adding flavour to the cultural tapestry of wine consumption," Kartik elaborates. Another notable trend, he says, is that the health-conscious crowd is driving the rise of no and low-alcohol options that offer the taste of wine without the full alcohol content.

The expansion of specialty retailers further fuels this growth by offering convenient access to a wider range of wines. Pernod Ricard India recognises this trend and offers a diverse selection of white wines to cater to this market requirement. "From Campo Viejo Blanco to Jacob's Creek range of Chardonnay and Riesling, and Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, our portfolio caters to the evolving preferences of Indian wine drinkers venturing deep," Kartik points out.

Millennials and younger demographics are driving a wave of change in the Indian wine market. They crave quality and diverse experiences, leading them to explore beyond traditional wines. Nonalcoholic options are finding favour with this generation.

"This global trend is reflected in IWSR data, showing a 5 percent volume increase in non/low-alcohol beverages in major markets. Pernod Ricard India recognises this shift and caters to these evolving preferences. We offer a range of four non-alcoholic wines under the Jacob's Creek brand - Unvined Shiraz and Riesling- providing quality options for those seeking a wine experience without the alcohol," he explains further.

Packaging and Storing

Pernod Ricard India's growing connection with Indian consumers is also reflected through the company's focus on packaging. In 2022, it announced the removal of permanent mono cartons across its brands as part of its sustainability initiatives.

"This move reflects our commitment to reducing environmental impact while maintaining product quality. We are dedicated to responsible business practices and are embracing eco-friendly practices and eliminating unnecessary packaging materials.

This also includes water conservation, energy efficiency and waste reduction," Kartik informs. Storage of wines is another issue of critical importance. "Wine is perishable and requires care. At Pernod Ricard India we strive to deliver the best possible wine drinking experience to our consumers. Our wines are imported and stored in a temperature controlled environment to ensure we deliver the right quality and drinking experience to our consumers," Kartik discloses.

Boost through Wine Tourism

Awareness is the key when it comes to consuming wine. To that end, producers like Pernod Ricard India have been offering wine experiences with wine tourism, which is rapidly becoming a catalyst for a more sophisticated wine culture in India.

With wineries opening their doors to visitors for tours and tastings, these immersive experiences provide a platform for education and appreciation. Wine clubs and enthusiast groups are also flourishing, fostering a sense of community and offering avenues for deeper exploration of the world of wine.

"By participating in vineyard tours, tastings, and food pairings, wine lovers gain valuable knowledge about grape varietals, production methods, and regional influences (terroir). This not only elevates their enjoyment of wine but also fuels a growing appreciation for the nuances of different wines. As wine tourism flourishes in India, it fosters a sense of connection to India's burgeoning wine industry, contributing to the development of a vibrant and knowledgeable wine culture within the country," Kartik observes.

Making a Difference

JC Sparkling

In the meantime, another boost in India's wine culture has been through the modernisation of retail channels. CMO of Pernod Ricard India believes that the rise of modern retail channels is helping in further delivering a more sophisticated wine-buying experience. These channels offer greater convenience, freedom and variety compared to traditional retail options in a temperature-controlled environment. Also, this translates to an increase in the volume and diversity of wines available to consumers.

Modern retailers curate a selection that includes premium and international brands, often with knowledgeable staff to guide customers. This focus on variety and expertise creates a more sophisticated wine-buying experience. With greater volume and variety on offer, wine consumers are experiencing a wider range of wines, leading to more discerning preferences.

Innovative Exercise

At Pernod Ricard, innovation is at the heart of winemaking. "We have been pushing boundaries in wine innovation to deliver elevated wine-drinking experience for our consumers and Jacob's Creek Double Barrel is one such example. It is unique, premium red wine, matured first in traditionally toasted wine barrels, and then finished in aged whisk(e)y barrels," explains Kartik.

"Each Jacob's Creek Double Barrel varietal is matched to a certain kind of whisk(e)y barrel: Scotch barrels for the Shiraz and Irish barrels for the Cabernet Sauvignon. This unique double-barrel technique imparts additional layers of complexity, beautifully integrated tannins, and an incredibly smooth mouth-feel," he adds further.