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Expert's Opinion: Raideep Munjral, wine importer and distributor "Time is on your side in India"

Par Vitisphere Le 23 décembre 2008
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Expert's Opinion: Raideep Munjral, wine importer and distributor
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quot;The Indian wine consumption will amount to 100-150 000 Hl in 2008. For several years now it has been growing solidly, gaining 30 % every year.

The Indian wine market is not one where the offer is scarce : India has a local production that is progressing in quantity and quality, with the support of foreign investors too. Imported wines have a share of the market but they are handicapped by the very high Indian taxes. The CMO has been trying its best to get them down, under the request of the EU and the USA. But so far, you still have to know that your wine will be on the shelf for about 200 % of its price from the ship, which is 160 % for customs, plus about 2 € a bottle for the government’s tax, then the margins of you importer, wholesaler and/or retailer and 20 % VAT. Some imported wines are already too expensive for their market even as they enter India. Then, you’d have to add extra requirements that are specific to each state in India and may vary quite a lot from one to the other.

To someone who wishes to invest in the Indian wine market, I would recommend:
- To carefully choose your partner in India: you need one to help you unravel the mysteries of the Indian administration and social codes.
- To invest time, money and effort carefully. Time is on your side in India, given the current context, with the tax system being heavily questioned by the CMO; maybe it’s worth a wait.
- Come up with a clear, legible offer. Varietal wines are nice and easy and won’t scare beginners away. The wines have to be simple and so do their labels. Still, as I’m addressing French producers, over-simplifying the label wouldn’t do either, as France and its tradition and luxury are very well-regarded in India. Your label should stick to those values by being simple with a traditional touch.

Now, when in comes to investing in the wine trade business in India, I’d be tempted to say that the domestic market is still a little to small in volume to be extremely profitable. On the other hand, and I’m here adressing the French, I would recommend creating or investing in a restaurant. There are no real references of French gastronomy in India, French wines need gastronomy to introduce them to Indians."


Raideep Munjral is the CEO of the wine import and distribution company, Munjral Brothers. The company is based in New Delhi and has been run by four generations of Munjral brothers since its creation in 1919.

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