India, Globalization and Wine..
As an Indian who has spent most of her adult life outside of the country, every trip back home is shocking as I try to absorb all the changes that are occurring ever so rapidly. The recent economic boom in India due to the outsourcing activity has spurred a boom for many sectors and has caused a shift in the urban lifestyle. A growing middle class with higher spending power, many Indians returning back home and multinationals setting up offices in India has made wine consumption an integral part of the fine dining experience.
Here are a few facts from local publications:
- Indian wine market grows at 25-30% and is expected to grow at that rate for the next 5-6 years. (Source – Indian Express)
- Recent reduction in custom duties on wines and spirits has resulted in huge imports from France and Australia.
- Domestic wine manufacturers are thriving (Sula vineyards has grown 50% annually) but face intense competition from French and Australian wines.
- The government is looking to establish a new wine policy that will bring uniformity in taxation and duties across states.
- Indian wine manufacturers unite under a common forum to fend competition.
Listed below are my key observations, I would like to mention that these are my experiences in very urban settings and may not necessarily represent the trend in the rest of the country.
- Ask most Indians why they prefer White wine over Red and you get the typical answer that they prefer sweeter wines.
- Most restaurants and bars serve wines by the bottle and not by the glass.
- Several local wines offer promotions in retail stores and restaurants, for example, it was pretty common for someone at the table to ask the server if there were any promotions on wines. During my 3 week stay, two local brands had a buy one bottle get one free offer.
- We Indians still have long ways to go for all things related to wine but the general sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn is high.
- Do not sniff into a wine glass in a restaurant; it makes people stare at you.
- Do not swirl a wine glass in a restaurant; it makes people stare at you.
- Ignore my last 2 comments; a woman drinking a bottle of wine - people stare at you anyway.
- Work for a start-up in the wine industry and you seem like a Rockstar to your 20 year old cousins!
There is no doubt that the Indian wine industry and the wine drinking population will grow exponentially- we are the 2nd largest population:-) .
So cheers to interesting times ahead!