There has been a tremendous increase in cultivation of international grape varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon due to their ease of cultivation and production.
Lesser-known varietals grown in India – such as Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese and Viognier – are also seeking greater attention due to their unique flavour profile and ease of pairing with the finest cuisines from the world. A few indigenous grape varieties have also been introduced in Indian wines.
But not much has changed in the quality of the existing wines in the past 3 years, apart from few premium Indian wines which have consistently performed better in the on-trade business.
On the other hand, each year there is a growing number of importers who bring in several affordable imported wines at various price points, which are a direct competition to Indian brands.
Well-known wine estates also have in-house wine tastings, vineyard tours, and lodging and family restaurants, which have surely attracted countless consumers in past few years.
Domestic tourism has directly impacted the rise in sale of Indian wines, especially among foreign tourists, who were unaware about India as a wine producing country.
Food and beverage staff in the hospitality industry is moderately trained on wines. It is well known that F&B staff sells wines when they have adequate knowledge about the brand.
Beverage brands must increase the frequency of regular training, tasting/sampling of a promotional brand, and encourage F&B staff by introducing incentive programmes.
As sommeliers, we make sure to create awareness about Indian brands with our expat clients. We list and promote at least one white and red Indian wine in our wine-by-the-glass menu.
Of course it helps if a wine brand has won recognition and global awards: it gives such wines an identity and consumers want to try those wines.
Consumers’ attitude towards Indian wines has drastically changed in past few years due to their strong visibility in the market. People prefer to pair their food with Indian wines especially with native cuisine.
It also surprises me how well they appreciate Asian food with Indian wines which, in comparison to imported brands, also offers great affordability on quality to price and an incredible drinking experience.
Wine-in-cans is a concept which is still new, but will become popular among the younger and inexperienced audience. It will be more easily accessible and priced sensitively, and will drive more wine drinking Millenials.
A surge in consumer-friendly modern retail shops, trained sales staff and a rise in wine dinners, wine and food pairing events will help the wine industry achieved greater sales figure.