Wine in red and white

Updated: Mar 16 2014, 08:54am hrs
In India, wine consumption is sparkling. Literally. The latest VINEXPO market report released last week, forecasts that Indian sparkling wine consumption will double in the next five years. That would suggest that bottles of bubbly have replaced laddoos as celebratory intake. VINEXPO is the international wine and spirits exhibition which commissions an annual study from International Wine and Spirit Research (The IWSR). This survey of world wine and spirits consumption, production and international trade with five-year forecasts up to 2017, covers 28 producing countries and 114 consumer markets. Its findings and forecasts for the Indian wine market, have some other interesting findings. One is that Indians consume more red wine than white. More than 61% of the wine drunk in India are red, and its a segment that is expected to grow by 71.6% in the next five years. That does not mean that white wine producers should shut shop, not by a long way. The survey shows that the entry of local wine producers making white wines has gone up, and with it, consumption is also expected to increase by 71%, which puts it on par with reds.

Incidentally, this growth comes at the end of a period of relative drought when wine consumption in India actually decreased for several years. It only started picking up in 2012, which saw a 11.8% increase which further jumped to 16.3% in 2013. The new survey pegs the growth over the next few years to reach an impressive 73.5%. Much of this wine, is, of course, local brands but the taste for imported wine is on the up. One out of every four bottles drunk in India is imported wine, with the largest supplier being Australia, which explains the dominance of Jacobs Creek and Lindemans in the wine shops.

Australias share of wine sales in India increased by a massive 71.7% between 2008 and 2012. Sales of Italian wines increased even more, by 104%, according to the survey, while the consumption of Chilean wines went up by 75.89%, but by volume, Australian wines are number one. Indians are generally not wine snobs which would explain why the consumption of French wines declined by 22.83%.

Indians have traditionally been more interested in spirits, and that leaves wine consumption far behind. India is currently the fifth largest spirits importer in Asia, and by 2017, will rank fourth according to the VINEXPO forecast, overtaking Thailand. Indian spirits consumption has increased by 73.7% between 2008 and 2012 and will continue on an upward trajectory over the next few years. Heres the surprise, however; the growth is largely a spike in brandy consumption, and, predictably, Scotch whisky. Consumption of Scotch registered a new high (sic) of 109.75% growth in the same five-year period.

Other highlights of the survey include the fact that: China, including Hong Kong, is now the largest red wine market worldwide, followed by France, now in second place with nearly 150 million cases and Italy with 141 million. Between 2007 and 2013, the VINEXPO/IWSR study reveals that red wine consumption multiplied by 2.75% in China, while it decreased by 5.8% in Italy and 18% in France. The US has been the largest wine consuming nation worldwide ahead of France and Italy.

Between 2013 and 2017, Asians will drink 27.7% more imported wines, which means that by 2017, Asians should be spending 52% of their total wine expenditure on imported wines.

Between 2008 and 2012, Italy took back its world leadership of worldwide wine exports by volume from Spain, by increasing the volumes of wines it exported by 52.83% in five years. In the same period, France increased its volumes of exported wine by 9.74% and retained its place as third largest wine exporter by volume worldwide, while remaining the worlds leading exporter of wines in value. In Asia-Pacific, France is the leading supplier of imported wines ahead of Italy and Australia. Spanish wine exports to Asia-Pacific grew by 167% between 2008 and 2012. Today, Spain is the fourth largest supplier of imported wines to the continent.

In 2012, Baijiu, a white spirit distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice mainly drunk in China accounted for 38% of the total volume of spirits consumed worldwide. Vodka has lost ground over the last five years as its consumption decreased by 6%, because of the products fall from favour in Russia.

The consumption of brandy, excluding cognac and Armagnac, grew by 45.6% between 2008 and 2012. The second largest market for brandy in the world, the Philippines, doubled its consumption in this period to the detriment of gin, which lost 21.3% in the same five years. Rum is popular all over the world. Its three largest markets are India, the US and the Philippines.