The wine industry globally

Introduction- Indian Wine and The Hospitality Industry

The Wine Industry globally is a mature market, however in India it is still regarded to be in its infancy. With the number of players increasing and having risen over the last five years, the market has a potential of expanding manifold.

There have been numerous consumer attitude studies that are conducted in countries like Australia, China, Italy, Germany regarding the consumer attitudes and preferences about Wine. However, these studies have not been documented in the Indian Market. The effect of globalization has caused the Wine industry in India to flourish and it is said that by the year 2015 vintners expect a bottle of Wine and beer to be priced the same amount- Renaissance Wines, Mumbai

This research attempts to evaluate Indian Wines using the parameters used to evaluate their international counterparts. This information will be fruitful for Wine companies and marketers keeping in mind the industry life cycle and the market potential.

Indian wine

Viticulturein India has observed a history dating back to theIndus Valley civilizationwhengrapevineswere believed to have been introduced from Persia.Winemakinghas been in practice throughout most of India's history but was encouraged during the time of thePortugueseandBritishcolonizationof thesubcontinent. Towards the end of the 19th century saw the phylloxera ( A detrimental louse) which took its toll on the Indian wine industry, which was then followed byreligious and public opinionmoving towards prohibition of alcohol. Following the country'sindependencefrom the British Raj, the Constitution of Indiadeclared that one of the government's aims was the total prohibition. Several states wentdryand the government encouraged vineyards to convert totable grapeandraisinproduction. In the 1980s and 1990s, a revival in the Indian wine industry took place as international influences and the growingmiddle classincreased started increasing demand for the beverage. The 21st century witnessed the demand increasing at a rate of 20-30% a year.

History

Wine in India dates back to the time of the Persian traders sometime in the 4th millennia BC. Historians believe that these early plantings were used mainly for table grapes orgrape juice. During theVedic periodof the 2nd and 1st millennia, theAryantribes of the region were famous for their indulgence of intoxicating drink and it seems probable that wine was a prevalent beverage. The religious text of theVedasmentions at least one alcoholic drink that might have been wine related- surawhich seems to have been a type ofrice winethat wasfermented. In the centuries that would follow, wine became the privileged drink of the Kshatriyas while the lowercastetypically drank alcohol made fromwheat,barleyandmillet. Under the rule of theMuslimMughal Empire, alcohol was prohibited in accordance toIslamic dietary laws. However there are written reports about at least one Mughal ruler,Jahangir, who was fond ofbrandywine. In the 16th century, Portuguese colonists atGoaintroduced port wineand the production offortified winessoon spread to other region. During theVictorian era, viticulture and winemaking was strongly encouraged as a domestic source for the British colonists. Vineyards were planted extensively through theBaramati,KashmirandSurat regions.

The Downfall

The Indian wine industry was reaching a peak by the time the phylloxera epidemic made its way to country and devastated the vineyards. From there, it was a long road for the Indian wine industry to recover from the devastation at the end of the 19th century. Unfavorable religious and public opinion on alcohol developed and culminated in the 1950s when many of India's states prohibited alcohol. Vineyards were either uprooted or encouraged to convert to table grape and raisin production which was the only other alternative. However, a few areas like Goa, continued to produce wine which was normally very sweetand highly alcoholic.

Resurgence

The turning point of the modern Indian wine industry was witnessed during the early 1980s with the founding ofMumbai based Chateau Indagein the state ofMaharashtra. With the assistance ofFrenchwinemakers, Chateau Indage began to importVitis viniferagrape varietieslike Cabernet Sauvignon,Chardonnay,Pinot blanc,Pinot noirandUgni blancand started making still andsparkling wines. Observing this trend, other wineries followed soon as the emergence of India's growing middle class fueled and witnessed the growth and development of the Indian wine industry.

Wine Growing Regions

Vineyards in India have been observed to range from the more temperate climate of the northwestern state ofPunjab all the way down to the southern state ofTamil Nadu. Also, some of India's larger wine producing areas are located in Maharashtra, Karnataka nearBangaloreandAndhra PradeshnearHyderabad. Within the Maharashtra region, vineyards are prominent on theDeccan Plateauand around Baramati,Nashik,Pune,SangliandSolapur.

Hospitality in India Five Star Hotels

The hospitality industryconsists of companies within the food services, accommodations, recreation, and entertainment sectors.

The hospitality industry is a several billion dollar industry that mostly depends on the availability of leisure time and disposable income. A hospitality unit such as a restaurant, hotel, or even an amusement park consists of multiple groups such as facility maintenance, direct operations, management, marketing, and human resources.

The hospitality industry encompasses Spas, hotels, motels, restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes etc. In the hotels the primary revenue sources are rooms and food and beverages.

The classification system for hotels has been around for many years. It usually operates using stars and hotels are rated by an independent inspection body between 1 star and 5 stars on an escalating scale depending upon a range of factors. To attain the highest classification or a 5 star hotel rating a hotel will usually be required to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Room Accommodation must be luxurious with the highest quality beds, linen and fabrics.
  • Guest bathroom facilities will equally be of the highest standard.
  • Personal service will have to be outstanding- Customers needs will be attended to immediately, to the guests satisfaction around the clock (24 hours a day) by the Concierge and Guest Services.
  • 5 Star Hotels often include Butler service either as part of the room or for the floor.
  • The hotels location is likely to be excellent many of the most luxurious city hotels are in the city centers. Likewise beach and country five star hotels will offer unique facilities and often wonderful views.
  • The facilities and notably the Spa, Pool, Gym and Sauna are likely to be world class. Sometimes the hotel may be part of a Spa Resort
  • A 5 star hotel will take note of your preferences for your next stay in order to ensure that it is even more memorable than your last. On return trips the hotel staff will recognize you and welcome you back.
  • As a matter of courtesy the hotel will typically make arrangements to collect and if necessary return you to the airport.
  • There are a great many small issues which add up to make a great hotel. These would include great concierge services, perhaps a shoe cleaning service, unpacking and clothes pressing service as a courtesy on arrival.

This is not a comprehensive list of services and amenities that would guarantee a hotel the highest classification. Note that the star system used by hotels is interchangeable with a similar classification system in use including diamond ratings. Many 5 star boutique hotels may well be rated under alternative systems.

In most countries the standards by which a hotel may advertise them is strictly governed and independently tested.

Literature Review

The Wine Industry in India- This report examines the growth and development of the Indian wine industry from the inception up to the present day and attempts to examine the scale and turnover of Indias wine industry, the various exports, promotional ventures, best-known practices and brands etc. It also maps the locations of vineyards, helps to identify the leading players, and provides their annual turnover. The report compares the Indian and global wine markets, and the attempts made by the Indian wine industry to become a global entity in the market. It also analyzes the initiatives taken by the Indian government, both at the Central and State levels to support this effort, and promotional ventures taken up by the leading players to establish themselves as a market player in the global market. It studies consumer trends, the changing perception about wine in the country, and the factors influencing this change. Identifies opportunities for growth, the report analyses the steps that are being proposed, and their implementation.

It states that the Wine Industry in India is currently at its infancy and that by the year 2015 it would be possible to purchase a bottle of wine as it would cost for a bottle of beer. Wine has a perception of a high class, niche and socially acceptable alcoholic beverage and will grow in market from the current 25 Million.

The Wine Market in India is currently at one percent.

A study of the paper International Comparison of retail consumer wine choice, reveals a study that seeks to analyse the results from a 12 country study mapping the influencers on the choice of wine for purchase in the retail environment. It demonstrates the usefulness of the best-worst choice method in multi-country research to map similarities and differences across market borders. It helps the marketers understand factors to keep in mind when trying to connect with the consumers of those countries.

The research was carried out in the following countries- Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA.

This same study was then taken to Italy and the same BW method was employed. The focus was on measuring the importance of the attributes, which influence the wine choice of Italian consumers when they buy wine either in a retail or an on-premise setting, identifying significant behavioural differences across geo-demographic subgroups of the sample. The best-worst (BW) method was applied together with simple statistical methods to measure the degree of importance given by respondents to attributes, avoid rating bias problems, and compare potential market segments. A general analysis of BW scores showed that direct, personal and sensorial experiences are the most important attributes when choosing wine. The statistical analysis evidenced that, while choosing wine in retail stores, the level of involvement respondents have toward wine, the age of the interviewees and the geographical provenance of the respondents showed the greatest differences in attribute importance. Respondents in the on-premise sector were more similar across the socio demographic groups compared to the retail respondents, with differences in the age and involvement having the greatest effect compared to other variables.

The BW method had never been used to measure preferences of Italian consumers for wine, either in the retail or in the on premise setting. The BW method allowed researchers to identify the attributes able to influence consumers choices for wine at most. Compared to other methodologies, this has been done avoiding problems of rating bias, favouring a cross regional comparison of the way diverse populations judge similar attributes.

The onset of globalization did help increase the demand for Wine in the Asian Markets, the changes in political, social, economic and technological environments acted as influencers for the tastes and preferences of the Asian consumers.

In an online environment, instilling trust is critical to the formation of a purchasing relationship owing to the perception of increased risk on the part of the would-be consumer. Trust and online wine purchasing: insights into UK consumer behavior attempts to investigate whether the elements of trust that influence consumers differ between on and offline wine purchases. An interactive data collection tool employed in the form of an internet based questionnaire focused on what influences a consumer of wine to trust enough to purchase online for the first time. A sample size of 1,000 current consumers who professed to buy wine was questioned. Results demonstrate that there is a difference in the elements of trust that consumers use to determine whether or not to purchase wine online and offline.

Wine Country- Business Today

A survey conducted on the members of a wine club in India showed that nearly 50 percent of consumers were women and this segment is growing at 5 per cent every six months- Business Today

There were only six Indian wineries in 2000. Today, the number has grown to 65. Around 85 per cent of these are located in MaharashtraNashik, Pune,Baramati and Sangli

Business Today

This article talks of the potential that domestic wines have in the emerging market of India. It compares the purchase intentions of the Indian user with respect the prices offered by the companies. It tries to segment the different wines according to their countries of origin and does an analysis of where they stand with respect with Indian brands. It shows that the demand for Indian Wines and their sales is more than their foreign counterparts.

It marks out a comparison of sales in 2008 and compares it to a conservative potential figure in 2010.

Given the light of all the articles discussed in the literature review, there is a lack of insight when it comes to the Indian Wine consumer. He/she might not have to be Indian but when it comes to Indian wines either they are not aware of the varietals that are available or does not have the faith in the quality. Therefore it is an imperative research that the companies must carry out to figure out a strategy to spread the awareness of their products and brands to the prospective consumer.

One of the few places where trust is a very important factor and which provides the ambience for Indian wines to be appreciated is luxury hotels. Here wine is consumed more on social occasion and functions. This is to reinforce the consumers societal status and class. Wine being an acquired taste is in the niche products in the current Indian market. However in order for it to achieve its desired market perception in 2015, it has to change what it is viewed at currently.

Wine In India- A report by DATAMONITOR

An analysis of the Wine Industry in India from the year 2004-2008. The report analyzes the different trends, market leaders, new entrants and the key facts and the market potential.

Market Value

The Indian wine market is believed to have grown by 19% in 2008 to reach a value of $253.2 million.

Market Value Forecast

In 2013, the Indian wine market is forecasted to reach a value of $630.8 million, an increase of 149.1% since 2008.

Market Volume

The Indian wine market has been observed to grow by 18% in 2008 to reach a volume of 8.8 million liters.

Market Volume Forecast

In 2013, the Indian wine market is forecasted to have a volume of about 22 million liters, an increase of 146.2% since 2008.

Market Segmentation I

Still wine sales have proved the most lucrative for the Indian wine market, generating 78.3% of the total revenues.

Market Segmentation II

India as a country generates 1.4% of the Asia-Pacific wine market's value.

Market Share

The Indage Group accounts for 49.1% of the Indian wine market's volume.

Knowledge Gap

There has been no study in India that studies the perception and the attitudes of consumers towards Indian made wines. It is important for Marketers to gauge to what extent their brands or products influence their consumers and which are the parameters to improve their brand/product strength on.

Research Problem:

To Gauge the image and perceptions associated with Indian Wines in the mind of consumers in india and the influencers towards it

Research Objectives:

To Study the Indian market, the trends and changes, infer the rate of fluctuation in consumption, study market forecasts and attempt to gauge consumer perceptions to help Vintners and Marketers reach the consumer better.

Research Methodology

This will be conducted with senior management of Wine Marketing companies, advertisers, media experts and Wine Consumers, Indian and Foreign. The methodology followed would be in the form of in- depth interviews with people from the industry and in-depth interviews of Wine Consumers. In these interviews, we shall attempt at using the parameters that have been employed in thirteen countries to assess the consumer image and perceptions about wine. This will allow us to gain insights on how to reach consumers better and have a stronger connect with them.

Secondary Research

This is mainly exploratory in nature and involves reviewing texts, journals and industry reports. It helps streamlining my study to arrive at the appropriate attitudes and perceptions towards Indian Wines.

Information Areas:

In depth interviews with consumers to gauge what are the influencers (the ones used in the B-W study are):

  • Tasted the wine previously
  • Someone recommended it
  • Grape variety
  • Origin of the wine
  • Brand name
  • Medal/award
  • I read about it
  • Matching food
  • Information on back label
  • Information on the shelf
  • An attractive front label
  • Promotional display in-store
  • Alcohol level below 13%

Findings and Interpretation

Industry Analysis

The economic uncertainty in 2009 affected on-trade sales of wine adversely, with the bulk of volume sales coming from the off-trade channel. Industry experts believe that while wine sales were adversely affected by the combined effects terrorist attacks and a drop in hotel occupancy in 2009, there is room for optimism regarding a strong recovery by 2010. New launches and a new dynamism is what saw the industry through 2009. The volume sales maintained a growth rate of double digits which now completes its fourth consecutive year.

Experts are of the opinion that with the continuing recovery and then economic growth, the Wine consumption trend shall overflow from the major cities into the neighboring tier-1 and tier II cities. This they believe is because of a change of lifestyle where nuclear families and satellite towns also emerge. People are now looking at making choices and changes that will improve their quality of life.

There is an increase in the demand for branded wine drinks which is expected to continue to rise over the forecast period. As the purchasing power of the consumer increases a strong growth is forecast across the price and product spectrum. As urban consumers transform into brand savvy and begin to experiment with newer brands and niche products. Wine though considered a niche category has now been observed to as been the next thing that will take over the fermented beverages industry in India.

In India, Vineyards are predominantly located in Maharshtra and Banglore, the major Wine Markets are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Goa, Rajhasthan and Punjab. All of these area see a growth in the number and frequency of visits to areas like Nashik and the Sahyadri valley.

It is the view of experts such as Mr Kawaljeet Singh of Big Banyan Wines, the Indian wine market is growing at 25% PA , imported wines contribute to 20 percent of the Wine Consumed and the rest are 30 % are mid level semi premium wines. They observe a maximum share of wallet from this particular segment.

The above is a market forecast that has been done by Big Banyan Wines. From it we can infer that there will be an increase and then a steady growth in the consumption of Indian Wines. Experts predict the growth in consumption of Indian Wines across the country. The fact that the industry is in its nascent stage is what the Vintners are celebrating. The industry has low barriers for entry owing to its low capital-intensive nature however there is pressure for profits due to high marketing costs and low volumes. With demand increasing at a CAGR of 25% over the last three years, the industry is expected to go through a consolidation phase. The industry in India has three major players viz Indage, Sula wines and Grover Wines. These companies enjoy over 90 percent of the market share. The success and growth of the wine industry are closely linked to the trend in the changing drinking habits of Indians, higher disposable incomes, growth in tourism, and government regulations and policies.

There are more players who are entering the market, Big Banyan Wines and Vinsura to name a few. Some of the trends that emerged out of the discussion were that Wine Marketers have a target group of 20-25 million affluent, well educated and traveled Indians, this however is just 2% of the population. It also emerged that the market is price sensitive and value driven and also that there is very low scope of brand media engagement. And that one of the most potent and emergent tools when it comes to wine consumer engagement is Social Media and the internet.

Port as a wine is more associated with the masses. The packaging of such Wines in plastic bottles takes away the entire aura of exclusivity and class. That is one of the reasons that both Sula and Indage have started their port wines in a new attractive glass packaging. Their noew launches are Samara and Figuerra respectively.

Analysis of the The B-W Method of scaling

The B-W method of scaling provided very good guidelines for wine marketing practioners. The largest segment is that of cognitive-based buyers. This is true for most countries except US and Taiwan. This segment averages about 50% of those surveyed.

The study reveals that buyers read labels and use factors such as grape variety, the origin of the wine, brand name and awards.

These components of the marketing mix are available on the labels.

These buyers read the label and make decisions based on the grape variety, the origin, the brand name, and awards.

Marketers who are concerned with cognitive choosers should focus on showing the key attributes of their wines on the label along with provide continual communications with the market focusing on these key attributes.

Many wine labels obscure the grape variety and the origin of the wines focusing on rather less important features, for example, the specific vineyard or proprietary name. The more objective measures of quality, like medals and awards are also important to this particular group. Marketers have to not only enter wine shows, but also must publicize the results on the bottle or on the shelf, even in countries where their wines are exported.

The second cluster that emerges is that which focuses on reducing risks, such as Recommendations, suggestions and previous experience. This was the largest group in the US and in Taiwan, and it averages about 34% of all those surveyed. Marketers who aiming at this target group need to provide sampling wherever possible and other means for potential wine buyers to have a taste/try/sample of the wine, example of the same would be by the glass promotions in restaurants. Recommendations have been a well regarded means of reducing the implicit risk in buying a wine.

Recommendations could stem from wine reviews or from personal recommendations by sales people and peers. Wine reviews which are unbiased and good and are difficult to come by and the marketers must take advantage of this fact and leverage any opportunity to promote their brands.

In some regions, printing the varietal of grape is difficult, therefore test can be one of those ways to market such brands/products. Testing at Point of Purchase and Consumption.

Companies targeting this segment should focus on training and relationship building with key retailers. They might also engage in a promotional partner to conduct tastings in the key outlets.

The third cluster is the smallest, but represents a large group of buyers in Austria, Germany, Brazil, the UK, and the US. This cluster of buyers use displays, attractive front labels, and back labels to help them make their purchase decisions. This segment presents an interesting decision for wine marketers. Many traditional wineries in countries use standard white or off-white labels with either a drawing of the chateau or the logo and region and vineyard information. It happens often that there is either no back label or one with minimal information. The study reveals that Wine marketers need to have a more elaborate set of labels to appeal to the cluster. New World wineries have been observed to often use colourful and graphical front labels and informative back labels , this is regarded as more attractive to this group. Larger wineries in Old and New World use promotional displays at the shelf level to attract buyers.

However, the small size of this segment in comparison to others could suggest the expensive efforts into retail displays and label design are not means by which the majority of wine consumers purchase. The information on what makes a label attractive to different segment is limited.

Most wines can be aimed at two or all three of the segments. A lucid and elaborate labelling of cognitive cues, along with tastings and shelf promotion could connect with many wine buyers.

However, smaller wineries, which have low flexibility in packaging and marketing should consider where their highest potential buying audience lies, and accordingly focus. Larger wine companies which have a diverse portfolio of wines can emphasize a different number of wines in their portfolios through different marketing channels. Vintners should remember that this segmentation was for purchasing a bottle of wine to be consumed at home with either friends or family. The relative frequency of the occasion will also be different between countries.

In Asian countries, for instance, wine is mainly drunk on-premise such as restaurants and bars and not at home. Future research would need to look at the choice criteria for these situations.

The study had been by necessity exploratory in that it used a relatively recently devised methodology for a research that was not done in the product category. The researchers did take care in testing the understanding of the 13 attributes used in the survey, however, the fact that wine is not observed to be widely consumed in every country led to different sampling frames in each one. It is owing to this reason, that segments derived are not based on the wine drinking population and that their size cannot be compared with the overall country demographics. Nonetheless the segment structure that was derived was very robust and differed only in relative sizes among each of the 11 countries. This had led to lend strong credence to the use of Best Worst Scaling and choice attributes in multi-national research. The results of this study clearly show that the same segments of wine buyers emerge in all 11 countries, so wineries do not necessarily have to devise totally different strategies for communicating and marketing their wines in different countries, however, they need to decide on which group of consumers to attract and connect to.

The main strength of this approach is that it demonstrates the character of using Best Worst Scaling over the conventional 1-7 type scaling. This scaling system is adaptable over a wide range of marketing measurement. So far it has been tested for strategic positioning of a wine regions and exporting countries, and for testing the best advertising slogan that forms an association with a wine region, and even for comparing label designs. In each case the results clearly demonstrated consumer preferences for a particular result over the other. The reason that can be concluded is based on the underlying measurement characteristics of the B-W Scaling. This new method of scaling has the potential to allow and help marketers to capture a wide range of consumer preferences with a more or less accurate and replicable measurement, something that has not been part of the Wine Marketers armor in the past.

The Indian Picture

  • Wine Industry professionals have observed an urban trend involving a fancy meal, sophisticated conversation and wine seems to be emerging in India this is a common occurrence amongst the trend-setting class.
  • A taste for wine is perceived as a sign of sophistication among affluent bourgeoisie.
  • Wine is now being customized to suit the Indian palette and also to be paired with Indian foods.
  • The number of people wanting to know more and become aware of Wine is increasing at a rapid rate.
  • This could be easily observed by observing the increase in the number of people joining online communities discussing wine.
  • People feel that it is important to know about the wine rather than just drink it

Respondents who did not ever consume wine, but have friends and relatives who did cited that they would like to know more to contribute to social discussions. A member of one of the high societal rotary clubs stated that the fact that she knows more about wine is what she feels gives her the social edge over her peers at occasions, especially where wines are served.

As a brand, Sula has more recall than Chateau Indage though the latter has a higher market size.

The domestic wine market has also changed. According to experts, the domestic market size is 1 million cases per year and is growing at 35 per cent. Chateau Indage (Indage Group) leads the market with over 35 per cent share followed by Sula Wines with 15 per cent and Grover Vineyards with 8 per cent. The observation regarding brand recall vis market size does come as a surprise.

In discussions with respondents, it emerged that Sula is the number one brand that they recall and when it came to Indage they would mention Chantilli and Riviera, which is a brand of the Indage group, however not the company.

Of the foreign wines that Sula regards as competition, Australian Wines are regarded as the number two player in the Indian market and have seemed to ruffle the feathers of some marketers. While it holds 24 percent market share in the imported wines market, which is 20 percent of the entire wine market, there seems to be a growth in demand for Australian Wines.

Wine Tourism is on the rise

Currently, around 5,000 acres in seven districts of Maharashtra fall under wine-grape cultivation. In order for consumers to get to know the brands and experience the product better, companies offer visits to the vineyards and invite consumers to the grape crushing during harvest. This is something that consumers look forward to and they all have memorable experiences of the visits. Of all the consumers questioned that went to a vineyard, they remember most of the brands and also seem highly enthusiastic about the product. Also that those who visited the vineyard do not seem to like any other brand than the one produced there.

Young professionals, mostly couples between the age group of 22 to 35 are the ones that are most commonly seen at such crushing festivals. This according to experts is one of the best marketing and consumer engaging strategies that allow the consumer and the brand to connect. This they also believe is what has helped increase the wine consumption. The consumers (Wine Tourists) are in favor of Wine Tourism and the numbers seem to be on the rise. Many Indian vineyards have tasting rooms, where wine enthusiasts enjoy exploring India's wine regions. Often people stay over at the vineyards. India's main wine region is Nasik, around four hours from Mumbai. Extreme hospitality is shown towards the guests, there are arrangements for accommodation at all the vineyards. These bungalows come with posh balconies and swimming pools to give the tourists a world class experience.

In India, wine on the whole is regarded as just another alcoholic beverage (spirit).

In countries like USA and Europe, wine is differentiated from spirits for licensing procedures. In US and Europe, the retail price of wine is around 30-40 per cent more than ex-winery prices; in India however, it is a minimum of 100 per cent goes up to 300 per cent in some states.

Health is the other reason why the upper middle class and the youth of today have started opting more and more for wine.

New Consumers of Wine believe that drinking wine is healthy and that it improves your blood circulation, it is regarded as good for your heart and is not associated with anything that is negative for health. It is one aspect that has not been leveraged entirely but Vintners. Brandy is consumed as an alcoholic beverage but has an association with keeping the body warm. Wine marketers must use this one insight to market their products. Actresses like Pooja Batra and Celina Jaitley have been cited as endorsers of the fact that Red Wine is healthy. The fact that any alcohol is favorable to the heart is something that is really underplayed by most Wine Marketers. This is a vital leverage point when it comes to building the associations with Wine.

The POP of champagne/ sparkling wine is a culture shift

The fact that most respondents cite that champagne is associated with celebrations and occasions is one of the biggest success stories in Wine Marketing. The now more common associations are with the Formula One racing awards ceremony, marriage, success etc. However, the original perception was that with death and the last meal of a victim. This shift has been made possible by the brand associations that have been made throughout the ages. In fact, 2000 was the first year when the millennium was ushered in by the popping of champagne.

Sparkling Wine is a success because of the Bubbles and POP

In discussion about the success of sparkling wines, experts believe that it is the bubbles and the explosion of the cork that the consumers enjoy. To quote Mr Arijit Bose of Bacardi People like the bubbly feel of sparkling wine and they associate loud noises and sounds such as a POP with celebrations, similar to that of fire crackers

The fact that the sparkles have been able to be associated with fun, merry and celebrations is what allows the consumer to be engaged with the product better.

In discussions consumers it appeared that sparkling wine is regarded as a celebratory drink and that the POP of the cork is essential to let others know that you are celebrating. It is not a drink that is consumed by a few number of people.

Even at the corporate level, a new partnership, success of a project is very often celebrated with a sparkling wine.

Consumers believe that it is a brilliant product for gifting purposes.

Corporate dinners involving wine consumption is on the rise

Wine in India has seen a new trend emerging. In the 90s a sign of success would be associated with the opening of a bottle of fine whisky. That has witnessed a paradigm shift in the last ten years. Wine, in the corporate world is the new symbol for success, partnership, something new, celebrations and gifting.

In discussions with the Food and Beverage Managers at the Taj Mumbai and Taj Mansingh, Delhi it emerged that there are more bookings for corporate brunches and evenings with a bouquet of wines. There is a tendency to demonstrate success to society and hotel F&B outlets provide corporate people the right audiences. They plan a Table De Hote (Table of the host) menu with wines offered along with every course.

Wine has been able to position itself as an aspirational product.

Price is an essential factor but changes with occasion

It is the view of the industry professionals that the timing of the promotions must be appropriate in order to engage with the consumer. Experts believe that the average budget of a consumer changes with the type and time of consumption.

The options of buying wines are more in Metros than actual consumption. There are outlets such as IVY in Mumbai and Kingfisher Bars in Bangalore that offer wine retail and service. However, most of the consumption takes place at five star hotels where the single consumer has to have the budget in mind.

This however does not mean that there is a need to reduce prices to appeal to a wider audience. One of the aspirations with Wine is that it is an exclusive product that needs to be achieved. Prices if brought down could have a negative effect on the brand and its perception. Bouvet Ladubay, a Wine from United Spirits Limited which was priced at Rs 99 a bottle in retail shops saw an increase in consumption, but slowly died out in the market. This was primarily because people purchased the wine at first, however, they did not come for repeat purchases as the wine did not connect with their aspirations.

Movies and Media are a big influencer in Wine consumption

Experts are of the opinion that the choice of the consumer gets influenced by movies that they are exposed to. It emerged from the discussion with Marketers that a minimal exposure of media can be very influential for the Brand. As mentioned in the industry analysis above, Wine Tourism as a concept became prominent in India after the release of the movie A walk in the Clouds. In the movie we have Keanau Reeves and his girlfriend going on a trip to the vineyards and crushing grapes with their feet. This is something that the Sula Vineyard Marketers capitalized on and launched their Vineyard hospitality program that allowed an engagement opportunity with the consumer.

One of the respondents said that he never consumed wine but after seeing the movie, he went to the vineyards just to crush the grapes in the Vat.

Another movie that has influenced the choice of consumers is Matrix Reloaded, in this movie the go to this place called the Chateau where the owner is offering them Chateau Haut Briand, a first growth wine, one of the best known wines in the world. The entire association in the movie is with class and exclusivity, an air of arrogance of the knowledge of the product. That one scene has been cited by over three respondents in as their influencers to try wine for the first time.

Magazines such as brunch and newspaper supplements are the medium for communicating the brand to the consumers. Events such as a Supermodel Grape Crushing coming out into the print media saw an increase in the number of enquiries for the next crushing season.

Wine is a more socially acceptable drink

Wine marketers have been able to position the product as exclusive, partnering success, knowledge and has observed an overall acceptance in society. F&B Manager Aparna Kumar states that she has observed a shift in the minds of the five star hotel guest when it comes to accepting wine over other alcohol.

It is now considered graceful and elegant to drink wine. Parents do not seem to have a problem with Wine on the table however, if that were a glass of beer it would be looked down upon.

This is something to which even consumers and non consumers agree. It emerged in discussions with women of the age group 22-30 that they do not have any problem being seen drinking wine in a public place. They feel that it brings along with it an aura of success and satisfaction and they have observed an acceptance. These women also point out that women smoking is something that is still looked at with raised eye brows but not wine drinking.

In discussions with corporate it emerged that when they are on a company dinner/meal it is important that wine be served. Especially if there are foreign guests, the host takes pride in educating their guests about the wine and it provides them with something to display their knowledge. This along with the fact that the association of the company with Wine will mark a certain air of success.

Wine and Food Pairing is growing

Almost all the participants had the basic knowledge of food and wine pairing. Whites with White and Reds With Reds. This level of knowledge was seen as commonplace among all both drinkers and non drinkers.

Food and Wine pairing as a subject has come a long way, now a days sommeliers are hired by consumers to plan out the menu for a party. Knowledge of food and wine harmony is demonstrated at every possible occasion. It has become an art of sorts and both industry and consumer agree that it is one of the biggest influencers of purchasing wines.

Analysis of the parameters tested in 13 countries:

Tasted the wine previously

Consumer discussions revealed that having tasted the Wine before is a major influence in the process of buying the wine. When it comes to purchasing a bottle it is very essential to have tried the product. Prateek Kalra, Food and Beverage Manager at the Taj, Mumbai stated that they allow the consumer trials of 15 ml so that they can decide which wines to select.

Someone recommended it

When it comes to wines the print media is the most prominent influencer. Discussions revealed that it is very important that the source have some credibility, they have to be Sommeliers or Food and Beverage professionals.

Grape variety

In discussions it emerges that industry professionals give varietals a great deal of importance to be sure of the quality of product. A good grape from a good year and a good brand are the factors that the industry must take into consideration. However, in the mind of the consumer, the variety of grape does not influence their purchase decision. This could be attributed to the fact that the consumer probably does not enough about the product and needs to be educated about it.

Origin of the wine

This is an important purchase influencer when it comes to foreign wines, however, Indian consumers do not give this factor much importance.

Brand name

When it comes to Indian wines, there are three big players in the market Sula, Chateau Indage and Grover Vineyards. Consumer discussions reveal that the Brand name is very important when it comes to Indian Wines. The highest recall of a brand is that of Sula.

Medal/award

It does not affect the purchase decision when it comes to Indian wines but it does influence the purchase of foreign wines, eg Dom Perignon 1999

I read about it

This as stated before is a suggestive technique employed by marketers to push the wine sales. They believe that if information is passed on the to consumer they feel educated about the product and thus attempt to try it out. On speaking to consumers the story does hold true. Magazines such as brunch and newspaper supplements describing the sensory appeal of certain wines encourage the participation of the consumer to try the wine. Here again it is reveled that the source of the information has to be credible. Blogs about wines are available on the internet but unless someone recognized endorses or recommends it, consumers do not feel the urge to purchase.

Matching food

One of the most important factors in determining purchase/consumption and the type of wine is the accompanying food. As stated before, most consumers are aware of the wine and food harmony that exists and rely on that knowledge when it comes to purchase.

Information on back label

During a retail purchase, it is an important influencer

Information on the shelf

It is again a significant purchase influencer in wine retail purchase

An attractive front label

Significant influencer in Retail purchase

Promotional display in-store

This is available only in the retail format and is an important influencer as long as it does not compromise on the exclusivity of the brand.

Alcohol level below 13%

This according to industry experts is a very strong influencer in wine purchase. The idea of alcohol levels is seen in the beer industry in dealing/ marketing strong, light or premium quality beers. The same attempt to differentiate wine has been made by industry professionals. They feel that the mentality of the Indian consumer is to purchase to get high therefore they need different alcohol levels. In discussions with consumers it emerges that alcohol levels are not that important in making the decision to buy the wine. They do not attribute their decision to the level of alcohol, neither does a high level of alcohol deter their decision.

Wine is part of a complete meal and not drunk in isolation or with snacks

As opposed to other alcoholic drinks, Wine consumption is associated with a full meal or a meal course. Experts are of the opinion that it becomes easier to market wines with complimenting foods than most other alcoholic beverages. Aparna Kumar of Taj Hotels, Delhi says that Beer and Whisky are accompanied by fries or snacks but wine is seldom served without a course.

It is a high involvement product with an experiential and sensory appeal and offers different varietals to compliment different types of foods.

Wine Consumption patterns according to industry profressionals

The sales figures in hotel F&B Outlets records higher sales of Wines during the evening and dinner time operations than during lunch. Also that more White Wines are ordered at night than reds or sparkling wines.

Wine is also associated with the weather conditions. Respondents in Delhi say that they associate Red Wine as a winter drink and White Wine as a summer drink. The reason for this is also in the colour and the service temperature. It emerges from the discussions that Red Wine is red in colour and is served at room temperature, therefore it makes you warm. On the other hand, White Wine is served chilled and is clear so has a refreshing feel in the hot summer weather.

Bibliography

  • Goodman, S. (2009). An international comparison of retail consumer wine choice.International Journal of Wine Business Research,21(1), 41-49. Retrieved November 25, 2009
  • Lee, K. (2009). Is a glass of Merlot the symbol of globalization?International Journal of Wine Business Research,21(3), 258-266. Retrieved November 25, 2009
  • Quinton, S., & Marc, . H. (2008). Trust and online wine purchasing: insights into UK consumer behaviour.International Journal of Wine Business Research,20(1), 68-85. Retrieved November 25, 2009
  • Casini, L., Corsi, A. M., & Goodman, S. (2009). Consumer preferences of wine in Italy applying best-worst.International Journal of Wine Business Research,21(1), 64-78. Retrieved November 25, 2009
  • Steve, R., & Steve, S. (2006, January 2). Overwhelmed by complex process of selecting wines? [Electronic version]Fort Worth Press, 23-25.

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