Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy. For years and years, the world used the term ‘champagne’ to refer to any sparkling wine. But the French argued that ‘champagne’ can only refer to a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France by a specific method involving a two-stage process, the key to which was a second fermentation in a bottle. Now, much of the world accepts that a sparkling wine, no matter how good, cannot be called ‘champagne’ if it is not made in Champagne from grapes grown in the region. For any sparkling wine producer, India presents special problems. The two basic grapes (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) are difficult to grow here and so producers have experimented with other varietals.
According to recently published report of Bonafide Research “India Wine Market Overview”, sparkling wine market was growing with a CAGR of 27.96% over past four years. The first sparkling wine in India “Marquis de Pompadour Brut” (exported as Omar Khayyam) was launched by Indage Vintners in 1990s and it enjoyed monopoly for a very long time until the company was filed for bankruptcy. Sula who entered the wine market in 2000 took over the segment some 10 years back with the launch of its first sparkling wine. Though there is a substantial volume gap, Sula’s close competitors Four Seasons wines and Grover Zampa are inching towards the number one position in this segment.
The market for sparkling wine is very small in India but growing well with many players entering this segment. Also, several players either have or are looking at introducing economical priced sparkling wines to increase their sales volume. Quality, price and packaging would play a critical role in the success of sparkling wine labels. Earlier, Sula and Zampa dominated the sparkling wine market but now, there are many new players like Chandon, Fratelli, York and Good Drops entering the market. Casablanca, from Good Drop, is the latest to hit the market. Riding on this growth many more wine companies are planning to enter the sparkling wine segment which is expected to fuel the growth. Moreover, the resulting competition among these players will assure more consistency. It is very healthy for the market to have more than a few players which, in turn, will increase the reach of the product in such a large country.
The demand for sparkling wine is growing in hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) segment as well as retail. Some trends that are leading to this growth include presence and push in social and corporate events, presence in more and more hotels and restaurants as part of the weekend brunches and corporate and festive gifting. Women segment, younger segment, international travellers and expats living in India are also strong contributors.
The notable cousin of sparkling wine, Champagne has many advantages over the former. No other drink speaks celebration like champagne. But when it comes to a market like India, the pricing of champagne brands act as a dampener. Fairly cheaper sparkling wines from other regions like Italy, Spain, California, and Australia are also available in the Indian market. It is imported sparkling wines that many people think of as the cheaper alternatives to Champagne. The excitement and buzz in the market says that sparkling wine as a category holds great potential and in due course it will give a boost to the overall consumption of Indian wines.
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