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India’s wine market is like China 15 years ago

A recent report on India’s wine market by Wine Intelligence and the country’s only Master of Wine, Sonal Holland, highlighted the potential of India’s future wine consumption and likened it to its neighbour China 15 years ago.

The report is part of the Vinitrac India Study in partnership with Holland to survey the opinions of wine drinkers in six different cities in India, namely: Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad.

In India there are 485 million people of the legal drinking age of 25 years and above. The exact number of the wine drinking population in the country varies depending on different studies.

“But our work so far suggests that wine drinkers are drawn largely from the 30 million upper income consumers, with a correspondingly very low national per capita consumption of wine – a bit like where China was 15 years ago,” said Holland.

India imported roughly 475,000 cases of wine in the 12 months to March 2017, and the country has over 300 wine importers. However, the country imposes high taxes and duties on imported wines, with import duties on foreign wines and spirits at a minimum of 152% in India.

Nonetheless, the report stated that alcohol sales in the country are on the rise, thanks to rapid urbanisation, changing lifestyles, rising disposable incomes and the largest youth population in the world, particularly among the upper middle-class urban consumers.

Between 2010 and 2017, the Indian wine industry recorded a double-digit compounded annual growth rate of over 14%, making it the fastest growing alcoholic beverage in India. However, traditional beverages such as whisky, rum and beer continue to dominate alcohol consumption in the country.

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