Premium Wines Set the Popularity Bar

While it may still take some time for wine culture in India to mature, there is a definite inclination across the younger generation to sample a variety of wines, especially from the premium category. Here, while red wine is taking the lead, pricing is also playing a crucial factor, as Sumit Jaiswal, Vice President (Marketing and Export Import) of Grover Zampa Vineyards, reveals.

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Premium Wines Set the Popularity Bar

Does colour matter? It does. When it comes to wine, at present, consumers have a strong preference for red wines followed by white and sparkling wines. And when we speak about Indian wines, we can definitely see a trend in people drinking more and more premium wines produced in India.

As far as the grape varieties from India are concerned, people still prefer Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, among others. As industry experts point out, consumers now prefer wines which have a better balance of fruit and oak and fewer wines that are too oaky.

There is more: the price. As Gen Z and late millennials enter the cohort of wine consumers as relatively inexperienced individuals, price is likely to be the key consideration in their choice. It is within this milieu that Grover Zampa Vineyards has always been ahead of the curve.

Grover Zampa Group

Sumit Jaiswal informs that the company has set many trends in the wine market by being much ahead of the competition. "We were the first to launch reserve wine in India as La Reserve in 1998" he adds. 

Taking this trend much further, it has introduced a number of wines in the premium and super-premium range over a period of time like VA Reserve Collection. It also has recent free trade agreement between India and Australia, many high-quality Australian wines have become much more reasonably priced than wines from other wine-making countries. 

Meanwhile, red wine dominates the wine consumption in the country and therefore contributes to the majority of wine produce in the country. 

In Tune with Preferences

In the context of evolving trends, the low or no-alcohol beverages are at the tip of the iceberg in India. But, as per Sumit's point of view, while they are gradually making inroads into people's repertoire of drinks, there is still a long way to go, and he foresees this trend taking off in at least seven years to a decade in India.

However, the wine tourism in India has taken off during the last few years. "We are equipped with world-class infrastructure to provide consumers with a memorable experience, which includes guided tours, different wine tasting packages, and a gastronomic restaurant for those who want to indulge in culinary experiences" Sumit discloses.

Another evolving trend in India's wine business is the modernisation of retail landscape. The company will be upgrading its Nashik winery to enhance visitors' experience. Here, a question that arises is whether modernisation attempts in retail have enhanced the popularity of wine in India? As Sumit opines, the modern retail channel gives consumers complete freedom to select wines based on looks and feel, price, and many other factors, which sometimes is not possible in traditional retail.

Modern liquor retail stores have many more SKUs available for various alcoholic beverage categories. Some traditional format stores, which have been around for quite some time and have a good reputation, sometimes sell as much as modern retail store, but this is changing in favour of modern retail as consumers have the right to choose.

Lounge de La Reserve

Stately Matters

When it comes to wine distribution and sales, Maharashtra and Karnataka have more conducive policies as most of the wineries and vineyards are located there, and they have taken a conscious decision to recognise that wine is an agricultural produce. Grapes are dependent upon the vagaries of nature, and grape farmers are prone to risks like any other agricultural produce. "Globally, most countries recognise the above reasons and tax wine lower than beer and spirits, and I think all other states should learn and implement the same," Sumit points out.

Wine also has several health benefits when consumed in moderation, which is another reason for local governments to consider the same. Additionally, in many countries where wine is produced, it is generally consumed along with food from the region or the country, and doing the same can enhance the sale of their wine and contribute to revenues. It also attracts a lot of inbound tourists if the states decide to have conducive wine policies.