India is developing a nose for wine.
According to Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, chairman of Vinexpo Asia Pacific, an international wine and spirits exhibition that will hold its eighth Asia-Pacific edition in Hong Kong from 25-27 May, “Indians are a curious lot, and the curiosity leads them on to trying new things, new tastes, new wines”.
The Indian government and winemakers will be missing from the Hong Kong do, but wine—particularly red wine—is gaining a following in the country. Whisky still wins the day (India continues to be the largest consumer of the drink globally) but the 13th global study on current trends in the international wine and spirits market shows India has emerged as a top 10 growth market for wine consumption for 2009-2013 along with China.
In 2008, Indians drank the equivalent of 17.38 million bottles of wine, an increase of 372% compared with 2004, says the study commissioned by Vinexpo and conducted by the International Wine and Spirits Record.
Mrs Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, Chairman Vinexpo, Overseas
Dubreuil says Indian wine is still to develop an identity of its own. “Some of the Indian wines are very interesting in terms of quality. But wineries here were mostly set up in the latter half of the 1980s. So it’s a very young producer, really. It needs to establish its own identity to be a significant player in the global market. It’s the winemaker’s art to maintain consistency in taste and quality,” she says.
She is, however, confident of the potential of the market. “Wine is about enjoying. It’s a convivial drink. As the lifestyles of Indians change, more Indians will take to wine,” she adds.
So expect at least some Indian sommeliers and importers to head for Hong Kong, where winemakers from all over the world will congregate. Besides traditional big players France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia and the US, emerging wine-producing nations such as China will also have representation at the expo. On the agenda are lectures, presentations and tastings. You can pick up skills such as pairing food and wine, improving tasting skills, learning new sales techniques and understanding how Asian markets work.