A staggering 2.12 crore litres of wine is lying unsold for the past few months across vineyards in Maharashtra. Wine producers have been forced to cut production dramatically as the global recession has taken its toll on the wine industry. It is not only affecting the vineyard owners but also the farmers and importers. Everyone is suffering and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last winter only made matters worse.
According to a Times of India report, in 2008, India had 62 wineries with total production at 2.25 crore litres. Of these, 58 wineries were in Maharashtra, producing 2.11 crore litres. In 2009, another 10 more projects were started at Nashik, Sangli, Pune, Solapur and Osmanabad taking number of wineries to 68, but production dipped to 1.32 crore litres by March, when the new crushing season started.
“This stock of 1.32 crore litres along with 80 lakh litres from the previous year is still lying unsold,” said Dr Jaideep Kale, technical coordinator of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Ranjit Chowgule of Chateau Indage believes that the mid-market brands are most affected. The high end wines continue to find customers and the low end of the market is stable too as drinkers in the mid-market move to cheaper wines. This trend is similar to something that is happening in the US where buyers are looking towards the cheaper wines.
The recession is hurting everyone including the farmers. Last year many could demand Rs.35 a kilo for their grapes. Now they’re getting prices as low as Rs.10 and are even having to throw the grapes away in a few instances. Read full Times of India article on the issue.