INDIA – Wine imports in India have experienced a substantial surge in the current fiscal year, underscoring a rising appreciation for high-quality wines in the country, known as the world’s largest scotch whisky market by volume.  

According to data from the commerce ministry, India has imported US$170.48 million worth of wines from April to October this fiscal year, compared to US$35.03 million in the entire financial year ending March 2023. 

This surge in wine imports reflects changing consumer preferences driven by increasing disposable incomes and a more accessible supply of premium wines.  

Vishal Kadakia, founder of Wine Park, an importer and distributor of wines, noted, “Multiple things are working out in favor of wines, and the market sentiments are very positive. Several new players are entering the wine business. We are seeing a jump in our business, and there is a lot of interest in good quality wines.” 

The expanding interest in wines is not only evident in rising imports but also in the evolving dynamics within the industry. Restaurants and hotels are actively broadening their wine lists, and a new wave of wine influencers is emerging, contributing to the growing popularity of wines among Indian consumers. 

ProWine, considered a leading global wine event, took place at the Jio World Centre in Mumbai last November for the third consecutive year. The event served as a platform for buyers and sellers, further fostering the growth and exposure of the wine industry in India. 

Anil Chandhok, CEO and president of Chenab Impex, an importer of fine wines, highlighted the company’s growth, stating, “We are continuously looking to expand our portfolio, and over the past year, we have added a range of world-class, iconic Italian wines. Niche wines are also forming the basis for creative cocktails.” 

While India experiences a surge in wine consumption, overseas wine exporters are strategically exploring new markets, with a particular focus on India.  

Amit Agarwal, board director and CEO of Hema Connoisseur Collections, noted, “The demand for sparkling wines from Spain and Italy has gone up in India. The hospitality industry has grown substantially in wine consumption in the country.” 

This surge in wine imports not only reflects changing consumer preferences but also presents an opportunity for global wine exporters to tap into the burgeoning market in India, showcasing a promising trajectory for the country’s evolving wine culture. 

Meanwhile, Karnataka anticipates a rise in liquor prices as the government seeks to hike duty on beer by 10 percent from the first week of February to help in boosting sales of Indian-made liquor. 

The proposed hike in the additional excise duty (AED) comes a month before the state budget. It is expected to raise the price of a 650ml beer bottle by Rs 8 (US$0.096) – Rs 10 (US$0.12) after AED is increased from 185% to 195%. 

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