Wine consumption in India expected to grow: report

A burgeoning middle class, globetrotting Indian business people and an increasingly cosmopolitan population are expected to drive up wine consumption in a country that’s experiencing a "cult enthusiasm" for the alcohol.

According to a new report from the International Wine & Spirit Research, wine consumption in India is predicted to reach 2.4 million 9-liter cases by 2020.

Meanwhile, in a forecast of per capita consumption rates around the world for 2015, India falls dead last after Vietnam and Thailand in a list of 54 countries.

Compared to beer and spirits, Indians drink little wine. But interest has been growing over the years and wine is mainly enjoyed by a small population of well-traveled businessmen, tourists, up-market women and cosmopolitan youth, the report says.

And while it may be a challenge to pair wine with the heat and spice of Indian fare, an increasingly shrinking world is bringing the high-end tradition to both consumers and entrepreneurs alike.

For example, after living in the US for years, a Stanford-educated engineer returned to India to plant a vineyard and created Sula wines in the northeast of Mumbai. The brand’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was awarded a silver medal in last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

And last year, upmarket British grocery chain Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to line its liquor shelves with wine from India.

Along with French Bordeaux and German Rieslings, British customers can choose between red Zampa Syrahs and white Ritu Viogniers produced from grapes grown in the Maharashtra region of western India.