12th March, 2021
Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse has confirmed bold plans to launch a new show in New Delhi this year, placing his trust in the growing Indian market despite a tumultuous year for trade show organisers defined by the ongoing pandemic.
Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse
Vinexpo India will take place in New Delhi from 9-11th December 2021 in partnership with Indian exhibition company Sial, bringing Vinexpo’s live show format to the country for the first time.
Lameyse revealed the plans during an interview with the drinks business this week, outlining his ambition to grow its presence in a market that he feels is ‘the next big thing’.
The show is expected to encompass both wine and spirits, with space for around 20-30 international wine producers alongside Indian producers, culminating in a show floor with around 50 producers in total. Producer stands will run alongside a programme of masterclasses and tastings as with Vinexpo’s other shows.
“It’s an opportunity to mix both wine and spirits,” Lameyse explains. “India is already very strong in spirits, but this show will likely be more about wine, but with some spirits as well. We are in talks with a lot of people in India already.”
India is already one of the world’s biggest markets for spirits, especially whiskies, while its wine drinking population continues to grow, along with its domestic wine production.
With a population of roughly 1.3 billion its potential is comparative to China. It is also home to the world’s largest youth population, with over 800 million people under the age of 35, in addition to a growing middle class. As with China, barriers to trade are still a challenge, but the opportunities for growth are immense. Yet there have been few studies into its wine market.
Wine Intelligence released a report in 2018, when it likened India to where the Chinese market was 15 years ago At that time, it stated that between 2010 and 2017, the Indian wine industry recorded a double-digit CAGR of over 14%, making it the fastest growing alcoholic beverage in India.
Mumbai accounted for 32% of the total wine consumption in India, followed by Delhi NCR and its suburb of Gurugram at 25%. Bangalore accounted for 20%, with the “upcoming” regions of Pune and Hyderabad at 5% and 3% respectively.
In 2018, analysts at Research & Markets meanwhile reported that the Indian wine market had achieved a CAGR rate of more than 25% from 2011-2018 in its Indian Wine Market Outlook report. Last year, it said it was anticipating the Indian wine market to grow at a rate of 40% to reach 65.3 million litres by the end of 2021.
Asked why India, Lameyse was adamant that part of Vinexpo’s duty was not simply to host big shows in established markets, but forge paths to new markets.
“If we want to act like one of the top brands dedicated to wine and spirits first you have to deliver a fantastic platform for learning, sharing and doing business and also deliver fantastic shows. But we also need to open doors to new territories. Even if [the shows] are smaller in size, it doesn’t matter – you have to be there as a pioneer, and being a pioneer in India is important to me.”
‘We believe India is the next big thing’
In a year that has seen countless trade shows cancelled and postponed, he’d be forgiven for putting off plans for a new show until the following year. Vinexpo Paris is due to take place in June, should the team remain confident that restrictions will be lifted. With two months notice the minimum required to build a show, Lameyse stated that a decision on that show would take place by the end of this month. Looking ahead, however, Lameyse is adamant that plans for Vinexpo India will move forward this year.
“That’s the craziness of the moment,” he explains. “Sometimes we are so focused on the short term that we forget about the year after, and there are opportunities. Ok, this is a moment of reflection and shared pain because wherever you are in the world you are in the moment of Covid. If we don’t speak the same language we speak the same barriers. Even if it’s small scale it doesn’t matter. What matters is to demonstrate trust in the future, that we believe India is the next big thing. That’s why I have decided to launch this year, not next year. At the moment trading is complicated and there are trade barriers, but as a sign of ambition and trust in the future, we will be in India in December.”
Much of India’s winemaking centres in two south Indian states: Maharashtra and Karnataka, with high altitude vineyards carefully selected to escape the heat. The most common grapes meanwhile, those produced in the highest quantities, include Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The country’s leading producer, Sula Vineyards, was founded by Rajeev Samant in Nashik (in the state of Maharashtra), and is headed up by winemaker Kerry Damskey, from Sonoma County. It’s known for being the first Asian winery outside China to sell 1 million cases in a year. Other big producers include Grover Zampa Vineyards, John Distilleries Private Limited and Fratelli – the latter a partnership between the Italian Secci brothers and the Sekhri and Mohite-Patil brothers from India. Vallonné Vineyards is another pioneering Indian winery, responsible for India’s first Provencal-style rosé and first Indian Malbec.
India’s only Master of Wine, Sonal Holland
‘Significant potential’ for Indian wine in the UK
News of Vinexpo India comes at a time when the Indian wine market is gaining more international attention. This month saw the launch of new UK agency, Wine in India – the only UK importer to focus 100% on Indian wines, with an initial portfolio spanning six producers, most of which are from the Nashik region, north east of Mumbai.
Its wines have been selected by India’s only Master of Wine, Sonal Holland, in partnership with three directors: Mayank Gupta; Chris Holland; and Nilesh Kamble.
The initial portfolio spans both still and sparkling wines, and includes Charosa, Good Drop Wine Cellars, Reveilo, Fratelli, York and Vallonné Vineyards.
“We believe there is significant potential for an Indian wine specialist here, given that the UK trade is particularly open-minded to emerging territories coupled with the British love affair with Indian cuisine,” said Wine in India director, Chris Holland.
“Knowledge of India’s wines is relatively low amongst the trade, so our key strategy will be one of education, with a series of instagram Live tastings and interviews planned as well as partnering with 67 Pall Mall on their webinar series.”
Wines in India will target both the on- and off-trade sectors, with Waitrose already listing the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Vallonné Vineyards, priced at £19.99, exclusively on at WaitroseCellar.com.
“The Indian wine industry has been going from strength to strength over the last 20 years and we are now seeing some fantastic quality wines being produced to rival those from classic wine-making countries,” adds Xenia Ruscombe-King MW, wine buyer at Waitrose, likening this bottle to a “classic French Bordeaux”.