Nov 25, 2008 at 09:52pm IST

Wine sales up but too early to toast

Mumbai: Indians are expected to consume over 100 lakh litre of wine by 2011 and vineyards are getting ready to cash in on this thirst with new brands.

The latest entrant -- Italian Salvatore Ferragamo -- has tied up with spirits distributor FineWinesNMore to sell five different varieties of his wine.

The wine will initially be sold through duty free outlets, priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 a bottle.

“This is the time when Indians are starting to get very close to their world of wines and so it’s an opportunity. India is becoming so important in the global arena and so we are looking to expand both in Mumbai and Delhi,” says Salvatore Ferragamo, owner of Italy’s Il Borro Vineyard.

Ferragamo's not alone. Indian Winemaker Champagne Indage is launching wines from the Thatchi Winery it acquired in Australia last year and U-B Spirits has launched wines from South Africa.

It also plans to launch Latin American wines soon. But the industry is treading with caution.

“This is only our third year. From last year to this year, we've posted 100 per cent growth. We haven't felt an impact as yet. But that doesn't mean we won't. There will be some trickle effect in couple of months,” says CEO, FineWinesNMore, Dharti Desai.

The wine distributor already has tie-ups to distribute 45 brands in India and it's now putting new tie-ups on hold.

Instead, it will now focus on launching its own stores on high street, to market the wines already in its kitty.