An Indian Toast to French Wines

With an ever-increasing percentage of globetrotters from India realising the value and experience of having wine, wine makers from other nations are taking India on a serious note. One of them is M. Chapoutier of France. Edouard Payot, Export Director-Africa, the Middle East, Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific /Global Travel Retail Director, M. Chapoutier, discusses with Shalini Kumar the potential that the brand holds in the promotion of their wines in India.

By Spiritz Desk
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Edouard Payot, Export Director-Africa, the Middle East, Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific /Global Travel Retail Director, M. Chapoutier

Even if it may not be apparent as of now, India's domestic market is slated to play a pivotal role in the future as far as India's wine consumption goes. Those in the wine business opine that the wine consumption in India could increase to one bottle per person every day, which makes 1.4 billion bottles on a daily basis. This can be pinned to the evolving culture which is expected to make wine popular over the coming years.

No wonder then that Edouard Payot is pretty optimistic about how their wine business will evolve in India. In India, the company offers both red and white from its portfolio- Marius Blanc, Marius Rouge, Bila Haut and then the Belleruche Cotes Du Rhone range; super premium wines like La Bernardine, Chateauneuf du Pape and Les Meysonniers Crozes-Hermitage.

Edouard has been to Mumbai, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bangalore and Pune to promote The Marius range is currently available in 15 states across India. "The focus for us will be to be a part of the luxury properties and premium retail segment across all the key cities in India," he observes.

On the Indian Turf

49 la pierre oculte

In India, Edouard feels that demand for wines will certainly increase given that Indian food is delicious and from that springs the possibility of many pairings.

The company has been actively working on this premise with Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, VBev, to introduce more varietals to the market. The change is palpable and Edouard has witnessed it personally over the past 10 years while he has been visiting India. "It's a very dynamic, evolving market all the time and in the long-term I see a very bright future for India's wine industry," he says.

So far, Edouard has organised several trade activations, tastings and trainings and is encouraged by the positive feedback. He is looking forward to the Marius wines gaining good traction in the Indian market. As of now, the brand has been in the market for six years already and is gaining recognition for not only its quality and taste but also for the fact that its winery is organic and sustainable.

This is turning into a major sales pitch for now as well for the future. Another important factor is that the company is known for its family values that aligns well with the Indian sentiments about the family.

Facing Challenges

Just like many other alcoholic beverage producers are trying to sell their products in the Indian market, Edouard admits that the country throws up unique impediments. Here the cost of entry and compliance with local requirements like FSSAl, special labels, label registration, etc. is quite high. In many places, the company can send only 12 bottles and the procedure is done with but in India, the team has to be patient and remain invested for the long-term.

There is also the education part - for making more and more people aware about the M. Chapoutier brand. Ideally, Edouard would like Indians travelling to France to visit the winery in Rhone Valley and discover the many wines it has to offer.

M. Chapoutier Becoming Popular in India

Sumedh Singh Mandala

Who else would know more about the presence and acceptance of M. Chapoutier brand in India than Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, VBev? Sumedh has been a partner in the long-term exercise of promoting the Marius range for six years now.

Sharing insights into the availability of the number of labels and distribution strategy of M. Chapoutier wines in India, he says that it is among the leading brands in their portfolio. "We currently offer seven wines from their portfolio, covering Rhone Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon regions of France. These wines are available across all the key markets in India," he informs.

These wines' rising popularity in India has been due to focused distribution across the duty-free and premium trade and retail channels.. "We promote these wines through permissible digital as well as on ground activations," Sumedh avers.

Sumedh went on to explain that education, visibility and product trials have been the core pillars in their strategy to take the brand forward. A part of this strategy is to make Indian consumers aware about the kinds of wines that pair well with Indian cuisine.

The Rhone and Cotes du Roussillon regions offer wines with key grape varietals like Syrah, Grenache Red, Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. These grapes have a great affinity towards the Indian cuisine. Les Meysonniers Crozes Hermitage, Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Blanc, and Marius Blanc are some of Sumedh's personal picks for Indian cuisine pairing.

It also helps that M. Chapoutier has been recognised as the 'Most Admired French Wine Brand' by Drinks International, five times during the last decade. Meanwhile, Sumedh admits that wine is still at its nascent stage in India but offers a potential of strong double-digit growth in the coming decade.

"We are also a wine producing country now. However, there is huge disparity in the per capita consumption between spirits and wine. Such a differential does not exist in any other wine producing country. Hence, I believe this drinking pattern will find a better balance during the coming years," he hopes.


M. Chapoutier