It has recently come to our attention that retailers planning to setup wine retail outlets in basements below their main shops may run afoul of the local government. This state law seems extremely restrictive.
Rumor has it that Delhi law prohibits alcohol from being sold in a basement. Now we all know that Indian excise laws are dated belonging to another era (the British Raj specifically) and therefore have their own quirks. But to prohibit the sale of wine in a retail basement borders on the comical. And we have no idea why this law even exists.
The basements are the best places to store wine as they’re like wine cellars. They’re cool and damp and protect the wine from the hot summer sun that we’re currently experiencing. The basements also have fewer temperature swings and are dark. In fact, research shows that wines stored in wine cellars (or rooms that have similar conditions like basements) may actually improve in aroma, flavor and complexity as they mature. Ironically, here in India basements are probably the best places to sell wine from.
The rumor we hear is within the context of a specific store in the Defence Colony market in Delhi. It is hard to confirm this rumor but we’re looking into it. Regardless, key to the growth of wine in the country is for wines to go retail at a massive scale and an important part of that is to encourage smaller retailers to start selling wine. Hopefully, what we heard is nothing more than a rumor otherwise it’s another stumbling block albeit not a large one making it harder for consumers to procure and drink wine.