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    In the wine and spirits business? You could learn a thing or two at Vinexpo, Hong Kong

    xaiverhte_3_1_2UR fondness for bling is evident when it comes to fashion. Now this appears to be a deciding factor for our tipple of choice. According to a proprietory study by Vinexpo, the world’s leading wine and spirits exhibition, Indian sparkling wine consumption is expected to double in the next five years. Together with rose and premium wines, it is becoming a Sunday brunch essential in most cities. Other useful nuggets of information from the five-year forecast include the observation that the Asia-Pacific will consume more than four billion bottles of wine in 2017. And China has pipped France and Italy to the post to become the world’s leading red wine consumer. While spirits like rum continue to get the popularity vote in India, what has changed are the new consumers for scotch — in Brazil, the consumption has gone up by 55.5 per cent!

    Australia comes first
    Xavier de Eizaguirre, Chairman of Vinexpo, who insists India can still surprise him 25 years after his first visit, admits ours is ‘‘a complicated market.’’ And yet, the whole world wants to invest in Asia. Our large population offers tremendous potential, something none of the big wine exporters want to miss. At present, Australia is right up front, by becoming our leading supplier of imported wines. And it seems we have a preference for Italian (volumes up by 104.5 per cent) and Chilean wines (up by 75.89 per cent) too.

    ‘‘Everyone’s looking at the younger generation in India, under 30 and the middle class market with a disposable income.’’ He confides dsadsfsethat the country, despite its sometimes inexplicable alcohol policies, is not as hard to crack as the Canadian liquor boards. Which is a relief to know, considering the growing demand for wine and fashionable spirits. ‘‘Wine is a cultural beverage,’’ agrees Eizaguirre, adding, ‘‘There is a lot of growth in terms of education in this field. We are in a fortunate business.’’

    Chinese whispers
    While much has been said about China’s growth and dominance when it comes to wine and spirits consumption, Eizaguirre suggests that all it may take is India opening up taxes, to give the former serious competition. Given that India, like China, is a wine producing country, consumers are easily created. But for now, all roads lead to Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, for those in wine trade, retail or travel. And later in November, the first Vinexpo Nippon in Tokyo will explore the many business options in Japan.

    Vinexpo is from May 27 to May 29. Get your electronic access badge at vinexpoasiapacific.com

    -Team Indulge

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