Indias wine industry is small but growing

India's wine industry is small but growing

India's nascent wine industry remains small but can benefit from a growing interest among the country's youth, Indian vineyard owners have said.

Speaking to just-drinks at the London International Wine Fair, which features an Indian stand for the first time, Mercury Winery director Veral Pancholia said India is still a “hard liquor country”. “But things are changing,” Pancholia added. 

“The younger generation now opt for wine because it is different, it is part of the wider world,” he said. 

French wine is still the preferred choice among India's youth, with New World wines becoming more popular, Pancholia said. Domestic labels are also increasing volumes, but the producer warned growth “will come more slowly”.

Mercury Wines has about 45 hectares in the Nashik district, India's largest wine-growing region. It's first vintage was in 2007 and Pancholia said the venture was undertaken more from a passion for wine than for business. 

Fellow LIWF exhibitor Krsma Wineries, started by pharmaceutical entrepreneur Krisna Prasad Chigurupati, was also born out of a love for wine.

“Krishna started it as a hobby but it has now turned into something more,” said Krsma's European sales director Mike Frued. The 20-hectare Hampi Hills vineyard in southern India, which produced its first vintage in 2010, focuses on high-end wines for the world's restaurants.

“We're not interested in tripling output to lower costs and make more wine,” Frued said. “We will only sell our wine to premium locations.”

The LIWF is taking place at London's ExCel Centre and ends today. 

Yesterday, a counterfeiting expert told an LIWF seminar that unique QR codes on alcohol packaging can eradicate fakes.