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India's Arrives as a Prominent Wine Producer and Market

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15/12/2023 Uncorking Excellence: India's Ascent as a Global Wine Hub and Market Leader

Much like the Champagne increasingly enjoyed there, India's wine industry has been bubbling with success and recognition, marking its entry into the global wine landscape. The recent India Wine Awards 2023, a prestigious event celebrating the country's burgeoning wine culture, shed light on the remarkable strides made by India's wineries and the evolving wine market within the nation. 

Hosted by the Sonal Holland Wine Academy in association with ProWine Mumbai, the fifth edition of the India Wine Awards showcased a staggering 219 winning wines across Best in Show, Gold, and Silver categories. Holland is India’s first Master of Wine. This achievement emerged from a record-breaking 460 nominations, representing both domestic and international wines available in India. Notably, the addition of sake as a new category in the awards highlighted the expanding preferences among Indian consumers. 

The glittering India Wine Awards Winners' Night, held at the Jio World Convention Centre, Mumbai, attracted 600 people from various sectors, including wine and spirits industry luminaries, hospitality leaders, global trade councils, and winemakers worldwide. Among the celebrated personalities, Rajeev Samant, the Founder and CEO of Sula Vineyards, received the Indian Wine Industry Leader and Champion Award for his pioneering efforts that laid the foundation for India's wine industry. 

Sonal C Holland MW, the Founder and Chairperson of India Wine Awards, applauded the remarkable growth of the Indian wine industry, emphasizing how it solidifies India's stance as one of the fastest-emerging wine markets globally. She highlighted the evolution from 'Incredible India' to 'Credible India,' signifying the country's emergence as a robust and reliable market. The awards served as a platform for winning brands to reinforce their image and position within the burgeoning Indian consumer market. 

Each wine underwent rigorous evaluation by a panel of 20 jury members. 

Expanding beyond the wine evaluation, the India Wine Awards introduced 'IndiaWineAwards’ 50 Best Places To Drink 2023.' This digital list honored the best restaurants and bars across the country, providing consumers with a guide to exceptional drinking experiences. 

In published interviews, Sonal Holland MW enunciated several key insights that emerged regarding the challenges and potential of the Indian wine market. Holland's journey reflects the evolution of the Indian wine industry, marked by regulatory restrictions and promising opportunities.

Sonal C Holland MW Source: India Wine Awards 

She highlighted the complexities of India's regulatory landscape, attributing high taxation on imported alcoholic beverages, including wine, as a challenge. However, optimism shines through, citing recent trade agreements that have led to a reduction in wine prices from countries like Australia, indicating a positive trajectory for the industry. 

The Master of Wine elaborated on the bureaucratic hurdles, such as the necessity of registering each wine label in different states annually. Despite these challenges, Holland remains hopeful, suggesting the government's changing perception of wine's agricultural, tourism, and employment potential, indicating progressive policies on the horizon.

Addressing the retail aspect, Holland discussed the growth of sophisticated stores specializing in wine across major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. These establishments offer a conducive environment for consumers, contributing to increased accessibility and confidence in wine purchasing. 

Moreover, the expansion of the hospitality sector beyond metropolitan cities showcases the spreading of wine culture in tier-two and tier-three cities. As investments pour into these regions, the wine culture finds its footing, representing an aspirational lifestyle for enthusiasts. 


International influences, returning expatriates, and the growing role of women in embracing wine further contribute to the market's evolution. Holland noted the significant impact of Indians returning from abroad, fueling demand for wines they have encountered overseas. Additionally, the acceptance of wine among women, offering a softer and healthier drinking option, signifies a monumental shift in societal norms, expanding the market considerably. 

India's wine landscape is rapidly evolving, with each sip representing not just a beverage but an amalgamation of culture, aspiration, and progress.

Note: Header Image Source - IWA

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