Special Correspondent

  • State's wine market is about 1 lakh cases annually
  • Imported wines now account for only 7,500 cases

    Bangalore: Given Bangalore's cosmopolitan nature, more and more companies are either test-marketing their products here or making the city a launch pad for a pan-India presence. In a city known for its beer, an Australian company on Thursday launched wines from the Coonawarra region of Australia.

    Bangalore is the market to make a beginning, as it is gaining international recognition, according Rex Watson, managing director of the Watson Wines Group, Australia. It is also a growing market, unlike Mumbai and Delhi, which are saturated with dealers in imported wine. The company's wines are already available in Singapore, China, Malaysia, the USA and Sri Lanka.

    The wine market the world over is growing at a rapid pace, and wines from outside the traditional regions (France and Italy) are making their presence felt.

    The Coonawarra region, located near Adelaide, has a cool climate and consistently produces some of Australia's best wines.

    Chardonnay, Cabernet

    The Watson group launched four wines on Thursday: an unwooded Chardonnay and a Cabernet Merlot Shiraz under the Coonawarra Premium Vineyards label and an unwooded Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon under the Gum Bear label. According to Alok Chandra, wine consultant, the total wine market in Karnataka is about a lakh cases annually, of which only 7,500 cases are imported wines.

    Given the high growth rate in Bangalore, it is projected that sales of imported wines will increase to nearly 12,000 cases annually. The wine market in India is estimated to hit nine lakh cases this year.

    Mr. Watson said the import duty on wines is high in India, and Austrade, the Australian trade body and the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, were lobbying with the Government of India for duty reduction and urging it not to classify wines along with other spirits.