Monthly Archives: June 2013

‘Indian Wine Market and Industry’ by Dimple Athavia:

Posted by on June 24, 2013
Uncategorized, Wine Market News / No Comments

The Indian Wine Market is in its early stages of growth. The country has been stated as a potential emerging wine market for domestic wine production as well as imported wines. However, Wines in India are highly price sensitive products and hence affect the consumer’s purchasing behaviour.

Wine consumption in India can be divided among the different socio- economic classes, such as upper class, upper middle class and middle class. Due to various reasons, less than 1% of the population of upper/middle classes are possible imported wine consumers. Foreigners in India and Indians who have travelled in wine consuming countries abroad form a significant group of wine consumers. Labels with the words Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundies are recognized by wine drinkers as regions in France which produce higher quality, expensive wines. However, due to the lack of availability and knowledge about these wines, consumers are unaware of the Chateaux names or their Growth Classifications viz. 1st, 2nd growths in Bordeaux. In cheaper markets; Spanish, Italian, Australian, Argentinean, Chilean and South African wines seem to have found their place. These International wines are priced half or twice as much as the domestic wines. Indians have a sweet tooth and prefer slightly sweet to lusciously sweet wines as they go well with the spicy and aromatic Indian food. Men seem more fascinated by red wines while women are comfortable with whites and roses.

The biggest consumption of wine (up to 80%) is confined to the major cities, of which the largest are Mumbai (39%), Delhi (23%), Bangalore (9%) and the foreign tourist dominated market of Goa (9%). Majority of affordable quality wines are found in restaurants and cafes in the cities and some rare wine shops. Recently, wines have been allowed to be sold as beverages in selective supermarkets. The supermarkets such as Westside Gourmet, Reliance, Big bazaar, Dolce Vita and many more try to have a respectable mix of domestic and imported wines. Majority of the imported wines found in Restaurants or wine shops tend to be big international companies such as Gallo, Yellow Tail, Oxford Landing, Wolf Bass, Moet & Chandon, Frexienet and many more. Importers struggle to find a market for smaller wineries producing quality wines and a range of grape varieties. The concept of online shopping for wines has not quite been accepted yet, however, online wine companies such as and Brindco seem to be doing well in getting more and more customers interested.

Advertising Wines via use of Television, mass media, street billboard or newspapers is inadmissible. Creating awareness requires various creative strategies which need to be lucratively targeted towards the upper/middle classes. Financial as well as marketing support is required from the International Wine companies, who would be interested in a durable position in the Indian Wine Market, for educating the consumers as well as the agent/distributors and funding promotional activities.

The Wine producing regions in India are the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Maharashtra produces more than 90% of all the wine made in India. The major grape growing regions in Maharashtra are Nashik, Sangli, Pune and Satara with a total of 64 wineries in the state. Karnataka is home to the leading domestic brand Grover Vineyards. Most of the domestic wine is consumed in India; however, small quantities are imported to UK, France, USA, Canada, Singapore and a few other Asian Markets.



Producing wine in India can be very expensive. Not only is the agricultural land pricey, the wine making machinery and equipment has to be imported from Europe and the import duties on these machineries are very steep. French and American barrels have to be imported since there is no wine industry specific cooperage. Sometimes basic wine making chemicals and micro organisms (yeast, malo bacteria) strains also need to be bought from foreign lands. All this makes domestic wines to be highly priced once they reach the market and hence has an acute contest with the cheaper imported labels.

Duties/ Taxes and Market Sector for Imported Wines

There are 27 states and 7 Union territories in India and states such as Gujarat allow no sale of alcohol at all; while Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh allow no sale of imported liquor to protect their domestic market. Only States such as Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are allowed sales of imported wines in Retail Sector.

Tax structure and duties imposed on Wines play a major negative role in advancement of the Indian Wine Industry. Buying and selling of imported wines is a complex and expensive procedure. The Government of India (central government) charges import levy and the State government charges additional taxes. These State taxes vary for every state and hence the permits and paperwork, labelling laws, registration fees etc. Furthermore, these taxes/laws are subject to fluctuation regularly. This limits the sales of wines between different states, restricting the availability of miscellaneous labels.

Hospitality sector of 5star Hotels and sumptuous restaurants buy 60% of the imported Wines. These 4 and 5 star hotels have the advantage of buying imported wines without paying taxes on their duty free licence. Importing wine directly from the Wine producers/wineries is logistically obscure and thus, these Hotels source their wines from importers and distributors. This makes it impossible to find a diverse range of wines from smaller producers and from different parts of the world even in the best of the Hotels. Retail sector accounts sales of 35-40% of imported wines which include wine shops and supermarkets. The sales of imported wines in India are controlled by individual state laws and regulations.


Reducing basic import duty (150%) would be extremely beneficial for the imported wines market in India. There is a considerable market for cheaper wines from the world and this would also provide a big boost in wine education and appreciation within the consumers. Domestic wines struggle to find their place in the highly price sensitive Indian market and have to constantly compete with the International labels. Domestic producers also have to pay the state taxes and adhere to the erratic regulation and registration fees limiting their exposure to the various states and hence also competing against other domestic producers. Putatively speaking, domestic producers would agree that they would suffer badly from any reduction in import taxes. Reformation of state laws and taxes would be beneficial and hassle free for sales of domestic as well as imported wines.

The biggest challenges faced by the Indian Wine industry are the complex tax structure, state-run variable laws and regulations and prices of domestic wines leading to competition. Indian Winemaker Kailash Gurnani from York Winery in Nashik says “Lack of knowledge of wine to the Indian consumer, affordability of wine, overhead costs in the distribution and retail channel due to demand of high schemes, different alcohol norms in different states, lack of support from restaurant and retail owners to push wine; are the major obstacles faced by the Indian Wine Industry”. Solution to these issues will improve the wine availability and diversity which will in turn open a bigger market to the wine consumers and help increase their knowledge and interest in the Wine World.

About the author:

Dimple Athavia is from Mumbai, India. She is a traveling winemaker who studied Bsc (Hons) Viticulture & Oenology  at the University of Brighton, Plumpton College UK.

She has completed wine making vintages in France, Cyprus, UK and New Zealand. As well as working in production and business areas for 3 wineries in India, namely: Viz. Sula, Grovers and Vallonne. She is about to begin studying Msc in International Retail Management at the University of Brighton, and has plans to work in the Wine Business in Singapore.


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Trade dispute between EU and China cools down:

Posted by on June 24, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

The threat of retaliatory controls on French wine imports to China appears to have lessened, with the Ministry of Commerce signalling that it has not yet begun looking at the possibility of a new anti-dumping tax.

There were fears that the new tax could be imposed as early as 5 August, this was triggered by a European tax on Chinese solar panels. Creating a situation that was alarming to say the least, considering that China is one of the main buyers of French wines, particularly high-end Bordeaux.

However, recent information suggests that any new tax would take at least 8 months to take effect, and would be more in the region of 10%, rather than the sometimes-quoted 40%.

Dr John Yong Ren, Beijing commercial lawyer told, that China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is still at preliminary stages of talking to European authorities, and has not yet begun its investigation into tax options.

‘If they begin the investigation in July or August it would still take eight months for a preliminary decision to be made and a further four months for a final decision,’ said Ren. He said that until the eight-month preliminary decision is released, no new tax could be imposed.

‘It’s basically good news,’ said John Watkins CEO of China’s largest value imorter, ASC Fine Wines.

‘In any given year, European wines represent approximately two-thirds of our wine sales in China, thus ASC takes the current situation very seriously,’ he said.

He added that ASC ‘is in close communication with all relevant parties, including our European winery supplier partners, legal counsel, trade associations and government agencies.’

Watkins said he would be observing the situation and considering the current understanding of the situation, ASC ‘did not plan to increase or accelerate our shipments of European wines to China,’ but, that he was ready to do so as needed.


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Wines of Brazil aims to double value exports between 2012 and 2016:

Posted by on June 24, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

The Brazilian wine institute Ibravin, have revealed figures showing that total wine exports were worth US$4.38 million, with a predicted increase of $5.3m in 2013. Additionally, volume exports increased by 23%.

Wines of Brazil have stated that the aim is to increase exports from the current figure of 3% up to 20% by 2025, to markets in China, the UK, US, Scandinavia, Canada and Germany.

This has been spurred on via the attention generated by Brazil’s role as host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

“In the first part of 2013 we have seen more than double the number of buyers visiting than in the whole of last year,” stated Wines of Brasil export manager Andreia Milan. “They are convinced that Brazil can be good business for them.”

The largest wine and spirit distributor in the US, Southern Wines & Spirits, have also closed an important deal.

The most prominent growth has come from China, which, despite importing virtually no wine at all from Brazil as recently as 2010, last year became the country’s largest export market for bottled wine.

As well as representing export value growth of 66% in 2012, China has of the highest average prices per litre for Brazilian wine exports of $8.49. Whereas, the UK figure last year was $4.23, and Canada, significantly higher at $10.08.

Whilst the majority of the 40 wineries who currently participate in the Wines of Brazil programme have acquired importers, Milan commented that around 100 of the country’s estimated 1,000 producers are primarily producing premium bottled wine.


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India believed to be massively slashing its current 150% import duty rate for wines and spirits:

Posted by on June 24, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

It has been reported by Business Standard, that India’s commerce & industry minister Anand Sharma has suggested to EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht that the country was prepared to slash duty levels to 40%, half the level previously outlined.

Similar rumours were reported a year ago, however, Sharma is said to have detailed the proposal during a recent summit of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as part of free trade discussions that have been ongoing since 2007.

Further to this, Sharma suggested a slash in the price of wine above which this 40% duty level would be applied to US$3.7 and $5 for whisky.

However, the EU reportedly continues to push for a further duty reduction to 30%, with an entry price of $3.5 for both wine and whisky.

The country’s own wine producers are said to strongly oppose the plans, whereas the opening up of the market for European wine exporters represents a great opportunity.

“A reduction of duties to 40% across the board means opening the gate for cheap imports,” cautioned Subhash Arora, president of the Indian Wine Academy. “This way, the Indian wine industry will perish and this will also impact the farming community.”

Presently the country is said to import just 72,000 cases of wine each year, however an annual growth of between 30-40% is predicted for the next six years.


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‘Vinexpo 2013 organisers suggest increased international appeal:

Posted by on June 24, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

On the final day of the fair, yesterday, organisers spoke out suggesting that expanding international appeal had been observed.

Official figures have not yet been released, however, approximately 40% of this year’s 48,800 visitors were from outside of France, with 148 countries being represented.

Promisingly, there was a 10% increase in visitors from Canada, as well as increased representation from the UK, Russia and Norway.

There was also an increase in buyers from Asia, roughly 3,200 from: China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Japan saw an increase of 18% in numbers when compared with 2011.

There were a number of new exhibitors from less well-known regions such as Mexico, Japan, Turkey, and China’s Sichuan Province.

Vinexpo CEO Robert Beynat, summarised by saying that “The number and quality of meetings and the positive atmosphere in the three exhibition halls sends an encouraging message to the whole wine and spirits industry.”


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‘Cult Wines at the opening of the new Château Pavie cellars’

Posted by on June 17, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

The skies were clear and a warm evening sun bathed the vast upper terrace of the newly opened cellars of Pavie, Gerard & Chantel Perse welcomed those lucky enough to have secured a private invitation and Cult Wines were honoured to have been included on the guest list.

Having passed by the estate some 5 hours earlier it was amusing to watch the last minute preparations as dozens of workman scurried around finishing various jobs as the deadline loomed! By 7pm it was ready to welcome the guests, a tour of the vast cellars set on two levels was quite breath-taking, classical design with some modern twists including some dramatic artwork, very impressive visually and I am sure it makes practical sense as well.


Onto the terrace for a Champagne reception with a jazz band to be followed by 6 courses of superbly presented food matched with the Monbousquet 2010 white, Pavie 1998 & 2000 vintages finished with a 1988 Doisy Daene Sauternes.

Our entertainment consisted of that French theatrical classic, mime supported by a ‘troupe’ of jugglers, singers and finally having been coaxed onto the rear terrace we were treated to a dramatic show ‘drive-in movie style of the Perse story.

It would be interesting to understand the overall cost of this project, it clearly fits well with the Classé A status granted last year and no doubt places this estate on a different plane to much of competition. It is also interesting to compare the final results with those of Château Cheval Blanc who opted for a much more modernistic design, and ignites the debate on what style is more acceptable to the local environment. Whatever the outcome of that debate there is surely one question which is on everyone’s lips, and that is who will ultimately be paying for these grand edifices rising out of the modest St Emilion soil?

One final comment is that I personally admire and enjoy the Pavie style of doing things, the wine is in my humble opinion quite sensational, but here again Gerard Perse has divided opinion just look at the spat between Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker over the infamous 2003! But this has become part of the story, Pavie and Perse have arrested the attention of the wine world over the past few years and regardless of your personal preferences, I doubt that these beautiful new cellars will divide opinion so dramatically!




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‘Trade dispute continues between China and France’

Posted by on June 17, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News, Uncategorized / No Comments

The trade dispute between France and China is still continuing, with the French minister for agriculture, Stephane Le Foll urging the country to be “totally transparent”, in response to the initiation of an anti-dumping probe into Chinese wine imports from the European Union.

The move was said to have been sparked by Brussels decision to impose taxes on the importation of solar panels and Chinese manufacturing components.

Le Foll spoke at the opening on Vinexpo 2013 on Sunday, and encouraged producers to react with openness as there would be “no risk” of finding any direct export subsidies from the French government, contrary to Chinese speculations.

Chinese wine producers have lodged complaints to the French ministry of commerce that European imports are hindering the development of their wine industry. In 2012, wine imports grew by 8.9% up to 430 million litres, of which 290 million litres came from the E.U.

Le Foll spoke out regarding the importance of the wine industry in France, French wine and spirits exports in 2012 were worth 11 billion euros, which makes it the second most important industry after aeronautics.

Le Foll also elaborated that wine “has an economic and commercial dimension”, but “it also has other values. It is culture, a way of life, a way of thinking about life”.

Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux, said that he was relying on Le Foll to effectively defend the wine industry during upcoming E.U-U.S free trade talks.


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‘Acker Merrall & Condit’s sale in Bridgehampton, New York’.

Posted by on June 17, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

Three double-magnums of Chateau Haut-Brion 1989 Bordeaux are estimated to fetch up to $18,000 at Acker Merrall & Condit’s sale in Bridgehampton, New York this month. Other wines in this sale on the 29th June, include a case of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1982, estimated to reach as much as $40,000, Chateau Latour 1982 predicted to generate $20,000, and two cases of Chateau Cheval Blanc from the same vintage valued at as much as $10,000 each

Chateau Haut-Brion is amongst one of the world’s five rarest and most costly investment wines.

Haut-Brion’s 1989 vintage was awarded a flawless 100-point score from U.S. wine critic Robert Parker. One case sold for $16,500 at a Christie’s International Plc London sale on Feb. 21 and another fetched 10,810 pounds at Sotheby’s (BID) the same month.

The Acker Merrall & Condit’s sale also contains a magnum of Romanee Conti 2001 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, estimated to make $22,000, and California wines from growers such as Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estates.

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2013 ‘Sublime’ year in New Zealand Winegrowers

Posted by on June 17, 2013
Cult Wines Ltd News / No Comments

In contrast to the reduced yields that were typical for the most recent Northern hemisphere harvest, New Zealand are celebrating the 2013 harvest as being ‘one of the best in history’, with yields up 28% on last year’s crop.

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan declared the summer as ‘outstanding’ with ‘near-perfect conditions for growing grapes’.

‘The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit-driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape-growing regions – 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.’

Almost 350,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2013, which sets a new record, up 5% on 2011 and 28% bigger than last year’s meager tonnage, which resulted in the country being unable to fulfill expansion plan demands.

Pinot Noir was particularly fruitful, with yields being up 36% on 2012, similarly, the region Marlborough was 33% up and Sauvignon Blanc 26% increased.

Not only are yields bountiful, but as reported by Villa Maria, fruit quality in the Marlborough region is said to be ‘exceptional’ and Hawkes Bay even more outstanding.

Villa Maria declared that the 2013 harvest was ‘remarkable’ and would ‘go down in history’, the company said: ‘We have never seen everything look so pristine and the flavours were amazing.’


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Last few cases of ‘Domaine des Enfants’ left:

Posted by on June 12, 2013
Retail Wines, Uncategorized / No Comments

We have recently discovered what we believe to be one of, if not the best wine producers from the  South West of France.

Domaine des Enfants is located in Maury, a small village in the Agly Valley of the Roussillon region of France, and the creation of Swiss born Marcel Buhler and his wife Oregon born Carrie Sumner. Visit our blog to read more about Domaine des Enfants.

The wine is available in countries across the world, including Japan: the USA, Norway, Denmark and Germany, but until now has not been available in the UK. We are therefore very excited to be representing them in the UK. Unfortunately, as the estate is comprised of just 23 Ha, and due to their strong international presence, allocations are tight. However, we have secured an allocation of 10 cases of their mid-range white and 10 of their mid-range red.


Domaine des Enfants

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