If trade reports are to be believed, consumers may find wine being sold in departmental stores and other locations across Delhi. The Wine & Beer shops and the private wine outlets (some of which are very good) won’t be the only ones carrying wines in the future.
Currently departmental stores are only allowed to sell beer and they pay an annual license fee of Rs. 50,000 to do so. This fee will go up once they start selling wine as well.
The move represents a boom for these small departmental stores which have been selling fruit, vegetables and groceries mostly and have over the years explored other avenues of revenue including organic food, high end cheeses and DVD rentals. The Delhi government is following in the footsteps of its neighboring national capital regions of Gurgaon and Noida with this move. Today a paltry 75,000 cases of wine are sold in Delhi compared to 350,000 cases for Mumbai. With this change, sales are sure to increase dramatically and the winners will be the largest producers like Sula Wines, Grover Vineyards and Indage Vintners who have the largest distribution networks in place. Importers like Brindco and Sansula will probably consider retail more seriously now too.
The benefits for Delhi wine lovers are obvious. Firstly, you won’t have to travel to a distant market or step into a dingy wine & beer shop to purchase your wine. Buying it along with your other groceries will be a lot more convenient. Secondly, you will probably have access to more choice. With more outlets stocking wines, different retailers will, in time, differentiate through their wine selections. Thirdly, as departmental stores are typically better funded (at least in more upscale colony markets), there is a greater likelihood of the wines being stored better. That will directly effect the quality of the wines you purchase and drink. And lastly, with the potential of more foreign wines being sold retail, you won’t have to step into an expensive hotel to taste a Bordeaux or a Chianti.
This change represents a much needed reprieve for the Delhi wine lovers and industry professionals too who have all been suffocating under the strain of an expensive tax regime. Time will tell how much this law changes the wine scene in Delhi but for now at least, we are hopeful.