We have seen a significant increase in the average Indian wine drinker. One reason could be that the aging Baby Boomers are exploring the wine market for their everyday drink a bit more than their otherwise love for spirits or beer.
The availability and growing accessibility of wines, more so Indian wine produce, also attracts the subsequent generation of adults to explore wine as a choice. Although only a handful, the above-average, high-price-point wine drinkers have also contributed to the expensive wine segment.
We have also seen the Indian on-trade going all out to support home-grown wine products through wine dinners, launch events, special showcasing, training and tasting sessions and much more.
This has been a great motivation for Indian brands, which have now started to feature as the house brands for many hotel and restaurant chains, a space that was erstwhile occupied by international names.
That said, there is yet a lot to explore in this regard, and it would be interesting to see, by means of more exposure of Indian brands by on-trade, if we can capitalise on the domestic as well as international clientele.
The emerging wine consumer needs to be recognised more by the Indian wine industry, and for this, there needs to be a channel created between wine brands and the consumer. This can be achieved through targeted marketing.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, hosting virtual events seem to be an interesting option to connect with a brand’s patrons. Live chat sessions connecting the winemaker and the audience, or encouraging buyers to join in a virtual guided tasting session, makes the drinking experience better for the buyer.
The pandemic has dramatically changed even the retail landscape. Customers have now been turning to shops for fulfilling their wine soirees at home, instead of public places. Targeted strategies – such as online visibility, value addition with free glasses or wine openers, or a short tasting guide – make a better impact.
There certainly is a disparity with regard to the pricing in this category of outlets. With the way Indian reserve wines are priced (and rightly so, considering the value and quality delivered through them) the pricing tends to be higher than the duty-free imported wines.
This causes a disparity between the two – to a consumer it seems like a lucrative option to reach for an imported wine priced lower than local produce. This disadvantage is felt through the price-sensitive segment, because consumers opt for the lesser priced wine, which in this scenario is not an Indian wine.
We have seen a new found love for wine tourism amongst Indian wine (and non-wine) drinkers that has led them and their friends – and their friends subsequently! – to visit, and revisit Indian wineries.
The attractiveness of vineyard visits, in contrast to nearby tourist locations, has driven many a tourist to walk the beaten path down the vineyard and eventually engage himself/herself and be a part of the ‘wine culture’. By creating an attraction, vineyards have opened another market for themselves.
After Krsma was named 46th ‘Best Vineyard of the World’ amongst the ‘Top 50’ in 2020, we have seen a phenomenal increase in consumers expressing their interest in visiting the vineyard, despite its remote location.
As a result of the pandemic, we have not entirely been able to capitalise on this interest. But it has definitely contributed positively to the business in the form of sales as well.
To promote the wine industry, easing of regulations and reduction of levies, as well as improvements to the infrastructure that surrounds it, would help everyone today and in the future.