Wine in India ; 10 Years of Evolution or Revolution ?
For 15 years I have proudly pushed Modiji’s“Make In India” barrow across the country, spruiking to all will listen to this big bald Gora about the virtues of Indian wine and its rightful place at the Indian dinner table..But for many years,my yodels have simply blown into the wind.Just another noise that's the cacophony India.
Mention Indian wine and it has been the same response for all the years I have been here.The groans of discontent usually follow the mention of any Indian wine brand. Why is this so.
I mean Indians are a parochial lot for sure..Mention cricket,badminton, hockey or any other national sport and the reverence is almost cult like, but mention Indian wine and the chagrin is palpable..It is an interesting observation.
Given that some Indian wines are certainly mediocre at best,perhaps the chagrin is warranted,but mediocrity is not just the reserve of India. All countries make mediocre wine this is for sure..yes even the Aussies.What is interesting in the scheme of things,is that this chagrin to a great extent, is misplaced and out of step with the forward motion of the Indian wine industry on a whole.
Whilst a bulk of Indian producers are bottling overtly sweet,nonsensical wines that they believe(ignorantly)cater to the fair bulk of the market, they have missed what a few smart open eyed producers have seen.The Indian palates have changed over the last few years and those same palates have moved on to more refined,better quality wine styles that offer more to their lifestyles than simple sugar and alcohol.
This in itself is one of the biggest evolutions over the last 10 years; the dearth of global cuisine available in India and the ever evolving art of the Indian Dinner Table.
That the wine palate of the Indian consumer is changing is no surprise given the effect of this "westernisation" of the stomachs and minds of India. Evolution causes change and change causes evolution and so the revolution of taste,wants and needs begins.
Imported wines on the other hand,have always had a tough go around especially over the last 10 years, with ludicrous tax impasses that make even the most basic of wines are overtly expensive. Bethe Protectionist Policy short sightedness or cunning indisguise,the impact to a certain extent is a double edged sword..I understand the base need to develop a fledgling industry such as wine but here is a question..if you make imported wines so expensive for the market does it not also remove the benchmarks for which Indian wine must be judged in that market?. Will mediocrity always be the norm if the quality benchmarks are overpriced in that market…again I reiterate there are mediocre imported wines for sure,but to use an example,Indian Sauvignon Blanc will always be judged against New Zealand Sauv Bas benchmark, Indian Sangiovese will always be judged against a Chianti out of Tuscany,and Indian sparkling will always be assessed against the likes of Champagne Prosecco,so isn't it best for the Indian industry to always lead with quality first and price second..This is the only way the industry removes that chagrin I was talking about earlier at the mere mention of India and wine.
There are very good wines being produced in India at this
moment in time. Over the lost ten years these numbers have
gone from one or two,to a more respectable number,and as the
attitudes of the market drive producers to always put their
best feet forward, perhaps over the next 10 years we will see
a 100 point wine being made in India..It is after all only a
matter of time.
Author -- Mr. Craig Wedge