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Spanish winemaker Torres gets high on India

April 19, 2008 13:33 IST

The Indian wine market is on a high. With a growth rate of 25 per cent over the past three years, it seems that everybody wants their glass and have a sip too.

Earlier this month, one of the largest wine producers in the world, Diageo, announced introducing French wine Bordeaux in the country. Now, Spain's leading wine company, Torres, is all set to increase its presence here.

Miguel A Torres, president, Torres group of companies, has his friendly, blue eyes fixed on the bubbling market. "We will invest $1 million to hire more people and expand to other parts. We have already invested the same over the last six years," he says.

Torres produces red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines, ranging from single vineyard to mass-market brands. In 2001, the company established a distribution joint venture, TT&G Trading, with Gautam Thapar and two others Indian firms.

Torres is the first Spanish winery to make such a venture. The winemaker now sells around 5,000 cases to premier hotels in India, at a growth rate of 25 per cent per year.

Miguel sees great opportunity in wine retail. "Retail outlets will help us market our entry-level and mid-segment wines," he says. Indian sommeliers will soon see entry-level wines like Sangre de Toro and Vina Sol.

According to a report by consultancy firm KPMG and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), the Indian wine market is estimated at Rs 265 crore (Rs 2.65 billion).

The industry is likely to report a 60 per cent compounded annual growth rate by 2010. Currently, the Indian wine market is estimated at 12 lakh cases a year. [One case has 12 bottles of 750 ml each]. But imported wines account for a mere 2,00,000 cases.

Heavy duty levied by the Indian government on international winemakers makes their products very expensive. As a result, they have not been able to grow as much here as in China. The per capita consumption of wine in India is only 9 ml, while that in China is 400 ml.

Suvi Dogra in New Delhi