Economy

For Maharashtra wine industry, it is time for the bubbly

| Updated on: Dec 23, 2011
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The wine industry in Maharashtra is back on its feet, after three years.

It had suffered major losses after the 26/11 Mumbai attack. This year, the industry will produce about 80 lakh litres of wine, while in 2010 it could do only about 45 lakh litres.

The Mumbai attack of 2008 had hit the tourism industry hard. As a result, the wine drinking tourists, especially from Europe, dwindled. Maharashtra has 72 wineries, of which about 40 small and medium units suffered major drop in sales and had to approach banks for debt restructuring.

These problems were compounded by the financial and legal troubles of industry pioneer Indage Vintners. A number of small and medium wineries, which used to supply wine in bulk to Indage and were dependent on the company for business, suffered losses.

Starting 2010, the wine industry moved to rejig its marketing strategy, dropped prices and launched standalone brands. Today, there are more than 25 new wine brands in the market.

Mr Jagdish Holkar, President of All India Wine Producers Association, said that over the last year the demand has increased by about 30 per cent in Maharashtra and Delhi. Higher sales are seen not just in metros but even in smaller cities like Nashik, Solapur, Kolhapur, and Dhule.

Mr Holkar said the number of people drinking wine has also increased with wine manufacturers cutting prices. Now, you can get a 750-ml bottle of wine for about Rs 150, while prices of other alcoholic beverages have gone through the roof. Sales through home delivery have also increased, he said.

Mr Rajesh Jadhav, Executive Director with Rajdheer Wines, Nashik, said that banks have restructured the debt of around 25 wineries, helping them to get back to business. A financial package by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is also on the anvil, which will provide an interest subsidy and working capital for wineries facing financial difficulties, he said.

The sale of imported wine has also doubled. According to an industry estimate, about 7 lakh litres of wine were imported in the current year, while last year it was about 3.4 lakh litres.

According to the data with the Maharashtra Excise Department, the sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor between April and November 2011 was 909 lakh litres, while in the same period last year it was 978 lakh litres, which is a dip of about seven per cent.

Beer sales between April and November 2011 were 1,920 lakh litres, while in the corresponding period last year were 2,024 lakh litres, a dip of over 5 per cent.

Published on March 12, 2018

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