India Food Network
May 10, 2017
“Indian wines are not going anywhere,” says Sonal Holland firmly. We ask her if the recent India Wine Awards has given her the conviction, and she agrees.
It’s true because every time we walk into a wine store or a supermarket, we are perplexed by endless rows of shelves stacked with a variety of Indian as well as international wines. The scene seems ordinary, and it’s pretty okay to find yourself confused by the sheer number of players that have entered the market in the past couple of years.
But, in a market that looks saturated, what is the future of Indian wines? A wonderful case in point is Sula, a brand that taught us how to drink wine. With so many options to choose from, an average wine lover today obviously chooses to try other brands. “It’s a given that Sula’s contribution is immense,” says Holland, who has seen the market evolve and noticed a huge transformation in people’s wine-buying decisions. “There was a time when people had a mono palette. They didn’t have a reference point. Sula was what they drank and enjoyed because it was cheerful, fruity and made for easy drinking,” adds the Master of Wine.
An obvious shift towards international wines started happening when the Indian market introduced international brands. “As palettes evolved, the consumer started seeking out higher level of pleasure. The reason is also obvious. International wines are perceived as high quality and better to pour, and seem more sophisticated,” Holland points out.
So, are Indian wines here to stay? “Yes, very much. Most of the players have good intent. They have a definite place in the Indian market now. Moreover, a lot of new stuff is happening. Wine tourism is coming up in a big way, initially introduced by Sula. The country will also see new wine bars, which will be unique in some way,” she ends.