October 4, 2018: Sula Vineyards, India’s largest wine producer, crossed the 1-million case sales mark in the year ending July 31 2018.
This is the first time that an Indian wine producer has achieved this important milestone. Sula was founded in 1999 by Rajeev Samant in Nashik in Western Maharashtra. By establishing Sula, Samant also founded the world’s newest wine region that is now home to 80% of India’s wine production.
Talking about achieving the significant milestone, Rajeev Samant said “It’s a proud moment for all of us here at Sula, indeed for the whole Indian wine industry. It’s been twenty years of a precarious road, trying to produce good wine in a country known for ambivalent attitudes to alcohol, but looking back I’d say it’s been super-satisfying, and today wine in India is here to stay.
More and more Indians are moving away from spirits towards wine, the healthier, lower alcohol alternative, and as Indian wine gets better with each harvest the trend is accelerating. With strong double digit growth and miniscule current per capita consumption, this will be one of the world’s most exciting wine markets in the years to come, for local as well as imported wines.
As hundreds of farmers switch over to growing wine grapes in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, the central and state governments realize this is one agricultural success story with huge potential in a generally bleak agricultural scenario, and we’ve seen attitudes towards the industry changing and becoming much more supportive. That’s terrific news for the future.”
Between 200 to 300 hectares of new wine grape vineyards are being planted annually mostly in Maharashtra state. Total wine vineyard acreage at around 2,000 hectares is still a tiny fraction of table grape acreage which is over 80,000 hectares making India one of the top table grape producers. That means there’s a lot of scope to expand wine acreage as more and more table grape producers switch some of their land over to more remunerative wine grapes.
Sula is Asia’s largest wine producer outside China and is the clear market leader in India with over 60% market share. Wine consumption in India has been growing rapidly with double digit CAGR over the 5 years to March ‘18. Overall consumption remains tiny at just 16 ml per capita and around 1% of total alco bev consumption, but in the major metros of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore that figure has crossed 3%, with domestic wines having 85% and imports 15% of the market.