The Indian wine market – for both domestic production and imports – has expanded considerably over the past decade. Precise industry figures are not easy to come by as there is, as yet, no official compilation of wine statistics for India. Not surprisingly, different sources seem to quote slightly different figures and sometimes appear to interchange production with sales.
Arguably the most reliable published information is that produced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN). Their 2012 Wine Market Update for India (pdf) was compiled utilising state excise data and combining this with various local industry reports and estimates. While not perfect, this compilation has the advantage of having produced historical figures on a consistent basis. It ought, therefore to reasonably accurately show the overall industry trends.
The growth of Indian wine production, imports and exports is shown here utilising the USDA GAIN compilation. Production appears to have peaked in 2010 at about 130,000 hl. Until then farmers had been increasingly setting aside land for the production of wine grapes. A poor harvest in 2009, coupled with a buildup of inventory at the wineries, caused many farmers to give up on wine grapes altogether as the industry underwent a painful period of restructuring. Exports have struggled to exceed more than about 10% of production as Indian wines compete unfavouably price-wise with New World competitors.
Wine imports into India dipped sharply after 2008 due to the combined effects of the gobal financial crisis and a drop-off in tourism following the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai. Since 2009 wine imports have continued to rise, reaching a high of 44,000 hl in 2011, despite the prevailing 150% federal tariff. France, Italy and Australia are the main wine exporters to India and together constitute over 50% of wine imports. The EU is attempting to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with India which, if successful, would radically favour imports of EU wines over other producing countries. It would also put enormous pressure on domestic wine producers who are still dealing with their own problems of oversupply and disttribution.