Above Image: Marriott Wine Bar, Mumbai.
Although this beverage is one of the highest taxed products in India because it is considered a luxury not a necessity, Indian Wine consumption has grown 25-30% annually over a 5 year period.
Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Bhimaro Ambedkar, two leaders in drafting of the Indian Constitution believed that it was the responsibility of the states to regulate alcohol.
In keeping with that, Article 47 mentions that, “The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the state shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purpose of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health”.
Wine has traditionally been considered a type of liquor whereby the government morally obligates itself to protect Indian citizens from its misuse. Methods of alcohol control include: serving alcohol only at specific outlets or during specific hours, prohibiting alcohol in religious places, educational institutions and to underage drinkers.
The official age of legal alcohol consumption is established at 25 years old. Most Indian states, however, have not prohibited alcohol and some facilitate wine grape growing and wineries [...] Indian Wine Market
The median age of current day India is about 25 years old; this demonstrates the fact that half of the Indian population is under 10 years old. In the coming years, 10 percent of the current population will become of legal drinking age, and this will further bring about an increase in alcohol consumption.
The wine industry must also consider the male demographic when marketing their products. Men and not women, typically shop for liquor because restrictions prohibit the sale of alcohol in supermarkets or other convenient locations. Indian women are beginning to prefer wine as a more socially acceptable form of drinking for females. It is seen as more feminine to consume wine as opposed to the hard liquor that men are more traditionally seen consuming. Wine has a softer tone and connotation which is more acceptable to consume in public.
As far as the palate goes, the Indian population prefers table wines. Champagne or sparkling wines sell much lesser than wines. In general, slightly sweet wines and the varietals of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are fairly popular and also pair well with typical Indian dishes. Similarly Rose and Blush have been projected as good fits for the Indian market.
However, the majority of sales have stayed on traditional red and white wines. In regards to presentation, wine producers have two different demographics in the Indian market upon which to focus - the upper class and the general consumer. While the upper class prefers the classic presentation (real cork, full bottle size, and dry red and white wines), the growing middle class in India gravitates towards approachable wine packaging (screw caps, half bottle sizes and sweet wines). [...] Indian Wine Market