Indian wine industry on the rocks?

by Dave

It is difficult to understand how some politicians declare they are giving a fillip to the nascent wine industry by declaring it an agri-business but do nothing to ensure its longevity.

As ET reported earlier this year, more than half of Maharashtra’s 58 wineries have either closed down or stopped producing wine due to a glut in the market. Not only are 2 million litres of wine (a quarter of India’s total production) lying unsold, payments for grape crops are down to a trickle and falling prices make the outlook even grimmer.

It does really seem as if farmers were duped into thinking that wines are on the upswing and therefore devoted more acreage to wine grapes. And wineries readily accepted the subsidies offered by Maharashtra and raised capacity. And yet average wine consumption in India has remained a miniscule about 4-5 ml per person per year – that too, of all wines, not just local ones!

Of course I cannot see our cuisine, eating habits and culture allowing us to come anywhere near the US average of 25 litres per person but we can get to China’s average of 4 litres. And we can make a start by exploring what India has to offer.

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