For the first time in many years, the country's wine industry may not have a spillover stock at the start of the new season.
According to industry watchers, this season, there could be a 20% gap in demand and supply owing to the damage caused by the recent hailstorms and unseasonal rains. Around 15 million litres of wine is expected to be produced this season in September-October when the festive season begins, Jagdish Holkar, chairman, India Grape Processing Board ( IGPB) said.
Of the 93 wineries in the country,75 are in Maharashtra. “In the year 2009-10, the wineries had a huge stock of 33 million litres which they were finding difficult to dispose. For three seasons after that wineries could not crush to their full capacity since their tanks were full. This season, however, around 25,000 tonnes of grapes have been crushed and a new stock of 15 million litres of wine is expected to be produced and come into the market by December 2014,” Holkar said.
This time there could be a shortfall of wines in the white wine category and some red wines as well since the demand may be more than supply,”he added. Some of the wineries have been crushing to 60% of their capacity and the unsold stock which is to the tune of 15 million litres is expected to be consumed by September-October, he said.
Wines in the lower to middle segment in the price range of up to Rs 250 a bottle continue to dominate sales and account for 60% of the total sales.
The remaining 40% comes from premium and reserve wines, he said. It may be said here that grape cultivation has declined by 58.33% in Nashik, the country's main grape growing region.
From 6,000 acres dedicated to cultivating various wine grape varieties four years ago,the area has come down to2,500 acres with most wineries too cash-strapped to sell their stock and hence wary of fresh crushing. As many as 30 of 37 wineries across Nashik district were in financial trouble, their growth blocked due to lack of funds for marketing.