Bengaluru: ‘Wine industry needs nationwide uniform tax policy’

Bengaluru, Feb 6 (IANS) A nationwide uniform tax policy is the most crucial need for Indian wine industry to grow, said the chief executive of a leading Indian wine maker on Saturday.

“Every Indian state has its own taxes and duties policy which is a challenge as rules change from state to state. The Indian wine industry needs a uniform policy across the country,” said Grover Zampa CEO Sumedh Singh Mandla at “The Great Grover Wine Festival” here.

Also noting that state governments club spirits – whisky, rum, gin, brandy and others – and wine together for tax policies, he said this is working in the disadvantage of the wine industry which should have its own separate policy.

“Wine and spirits are different; the content of alcohol is lesser in wine than spirits. They need different policies,” he stressed.

Grover Zampa sells two lakh wines cases in India and considers Karnataka to be its biggest market where its produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Clairette and Chardonnay grape varieties for making red, white, rose and sparkling wines.

The company’s Karnataka vineyard started production in 1998 and is located 40 km northeast of Bengaluru in Nandi Hills while its first vineyard was planted in Maharashtra’s Nashik.

Grover Zampa will very soon launch its sparkling wine produced from Karnataka vineyard.

“Karnataka has many MNCs and young professionals coming from across the country and the number of people willing to learn about wine is incredible. I consider Karnataka as our home base,” said Karishma Grover, the grand daughter of Kanwal Grover, the company’s founder.

Grover, the company’s associate wine maker, said the Kerala government’s ban on selling liquor in bars and restaurants below five star category has bolstered and tripled the company’s entry level wine sales in that state.

The company produces grapes in nearly 700 plus acres and is focusing to expand the market share of its premium wine varieties priced in the range of Rs.600-1,850, said Mandla.

“In the last three years we achieved a growth rate of 50 percent year-on-year,” he said, noting Indian wine industry’s market value is just Rs.1,000 crore with a volume of 2.5 million cases compared to 300 million cases market of spirits with a huge potential to grow.

Aimed at promoting wine culture in India, the second edition of the wine festival organised wine appreciation sessions, grape stomping and a concert featuring Lagori, Aabha Hanjura, Sufistication, Karthick Iyer, Ananth Menon and trio and Sabrian among others.

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