Moet-Hennessy has unveiled plans to release a domestic sparkling wine in India, after investing in the Nashik region north-east of Mumbai.
Nineteen hectares of Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay were planted in 2011, in the Dindori sub-region of Nashik, Cathryn Boudiak, brand manager for Moet-Hennessy Estates & Wines told Decanter.com.
‘The exact release date for our wines has not been confirmed, but I do know that the first bottles will be launched at the end of this year,’ Boudiak said.
The winery – which is expected to be completed in 2014 – will have a capacity of producing 50,000 cases a year.
According to IWSR (International Wine & Spirt Research) the current market for sparkling wine in India is growing, albeit from a very small base of 4% of the total wine market.
‘The total sparkling wine market in 2012 was 94,000 cases – a rise of 24% over 2011. It had previously stagnated because there was no indigenous industry and background to drinking sparkling wine,’ said IWSR managing director Alastair Smith.
However, Indian wine professionals believe that demand will ‘significantly’ increase for domestically produced sparkling wine.
‘In a country of 1.4 billion there is always a reason to celebrate something, somewhere, but NV Champagne is frighteningly expensive, Prosecco and Cava are not well known, and Franciacorta entirely inconspicuous,’ said Delhi based wine writer Magandeep Singh.
NV Champagne typically sells for an average INR6000 (£71) retail.
‘Pricing is key and Indian wines can crack exactly that,’ Singh added.
Moet-Hennessy has already invested heavily in other regions in Asia – including two areas in China – and was the first international wine and spirit company to bring its brands to India after quantitative restrictions were lifted in 2001.
Written by James Lawrence