Wine lovers in Delhi raise a toast to this. Soon, there will be no need to queue up at the rustic, dingy state-owned retail outlets to buy the preferred brands. From next month, the Delhi government will allow private department stores selling fruit, vegetables and groceries to also retail wine, in line with the practice in neighbouring national capital regions of Gurgaon and Noida, apart from states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. The move is sure to boost wine sales in the Capital substantially.
Department stores in Delhi are currently allowed to sell beer and they pay an annual licence fee of Rs 50,000. The fee is expected to go up once they start retailing wine also.
The wine industry has hailed the government’s move. According to UB Group chief winemaker Abhay Kewadkar, “The move will see a 30 per cent rise in wine sales in the city. Availability of wine on the shelves of modern retail stores will surely increase its visibility and customer contact, and will lead to increase in sales. Besides, better storage conditions will also ensure that the quality of the product remains intact.”
The retailers too are waiting for the announcement to firm up their plans. “We would retail wines after examining its cost-benefit analysis,” says group president, Ambeek Khemka, Vishal Mega Mart. Currently, around 75,000 cases of wine are sold in Delhi annually. Wine consumption is highest in Maharashtra at around 350,000 cases annually, which is 35 per cent of the total consumption in the country. The overall wine market in India is around 1.2 million cases a year.
However, India still has a long way to go to become a wine-drinking country as it constitutes only 1 per cent of the total liquor consumption in the world. Wine has been retailed by private department stores in Goa for a long time while Maharashtra allowed it only two years back, Haryana a year ago and Karnataka about six months back.
Source: The Financial Express