Among marketers, India is considered an emerging market more than a producing country. It happens that India is both and we shouldn’t neglect the Indian wine, whose quality is getting better and better.
I just read in one of the numerous online newsletters I subscribed to that a Book and Wine festival held in Angers and Saumur, two wine producing areas of the Loire Valley in France, has two guests of honor this year: India and Israel. Why this choice? Both countries are now producing wine and developing wine travel.
India develops a strong wine industry through international partnerships, mostly in the western part of the country. In the Maharashtra state, there are the main two wine producers, Sula and Indage. In the Karnataka state, there is the third important wine producer, Grover. Indage created the first wine resort and spa, Tiger Hills Resort.
Because India is now producing its own wines, the Indian consumer is getting more and more sensitive to the taste of wine and interested in tasting other wines besides Indage and Sula. Education is a very important step for international wine marketers. If we want our wines to be appreciated on those emerging markets, we must organize tastings and events to educate the consumers.
Wine is usually drunk away from home and not with food because Indians kept the British habit of having a strong drink – usually a glass of Scotch whisky – before dinner. They do appreciate a drink before their meals. Why not a glass of wine, the new fashionable drink among young urbans? The most popular wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the grapes blended in the Bordeaux wines, and the Indian Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend from the Nandi Hills in southern India.
To learn more and avoid the embarrassment of a faux-pas, young executives in international corporations get themselves a wine education through wine tastings and classes. They are educating themselves because they know it is important to impress colleagues and clients when at a corporate dinner.
What would prevent an Indian from drinking good wines? Mostly ignorance, but fortunately wine magazines and workshops are now common in the big cities. There is also the fear of mispronouncing foreign names. A young woman, with a good knowledge of wine, reported that her own wine retailer advised her to buy “kotay dou Ronnie”, meaning “Côtes du Rhône”. Is that so shameful? After all, a South African winemaker, Charles Back, had no scruple about naming his own wine “Goats do roam”, a play on the sound of the words!
Emerging market and producing country, India is now a major player of the wine industry with more and more consumers getting sophisticated and learned.
For more information on wine and India, I would recommend the very good blog: Sommelier India