How Expensive is Wine in India? Delhi Wine Prices Benchmarked

That wine is expensive in India is well known. But how expensive is it really? To figure this out, I compared retail prices of wine in Delhi to retail prices of the same wines in the US market. I used a sample of 42 widely available wines. Conclusion: Wine retail prices in Delhi are on average almost 3 times more expensive than retail prices of the same wines in the US Market. For individual wines, retail prices in Delhi vary from anywhere between 1.5 times to 6 times the retail prices in the US.

Relative Values: I made a straightforward calculation: retail wine prices in Delhi divided by the retail wine prices in the US. The closer a wine in Delhi is priced to the retail price of the same wine in the US market, the better relative value it represents. Therefore, lower numbers represent better relative values. The wines are arranged in descending order of relative value (the best relative values are on top, the worst towards the bottom).

Please note: this is only relative value, and does not take the quality of the wine into account. Therefore, these are not recommendations of absolute values or of what I consider to be the best value wines in the market. Absolute value is a different concept and takes quality into account (price/quality). Please see additional notes on methodology at the bottom of this post.

Wine Name Price in Delhi (Tax Incl, Indian Rupees) Price in Delhi (Tax Incl, US$) Price in USA (Tax Incl, US$). Source: wine-searcher.com Relative Value (Price in India/Price in USA). Lower numbers are better value.
Emiliana, Chardonnay 2010 INR 900.00 $16.13 $10.68 1.51
Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva INR 1,560.00 $27.99 $17.11 1.64
San Simone, Pinot Grigio Fruili DOC INR 1,350.00 $24.20 $13.89 1.74
Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne INR 5,560.00 $99.67 $54.54 1.83
Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne INR 6,550.00 $117.42 $64.17 1.83
Emiliana, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 INR 1,100.00 $19.72 $10.68 1.85
Emiliana, Merlot 2011 INR 1,100.00 $19.72 $10.68 1.85
G.H. Mumm Brut Rose Champagne INR 6,000.00 $107.56 $57.75 1.86
Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne INR 5,060.00 $90.71 $43.85 2.07
Bodega Norton Malbec INR 1,120.00 $20.09 $9.63 2.09
Dom Perignon 2002 Champagne INR 17,010.00 $304.94 $145.45 2.10
Caliterra Merlot INR 1,140.00 $20.45 $9.63 2.12
G.H. Mumm Brut Champagne INR 5,500.00 $98.60 $45.99 2.14
Jacob’s Creek, Semillon Chardonnay 2011 INR 970.00 $17.38 $8.02 2.17
Jacob’s Creek, Shiraz Cabernet 2009 INR 920.00 $16.49 $7.48 2.21
Jacob’s Creek, Chardonnay Reserve INR 1,750.00 $31.37 $13.90 2.26
Jacob’s Creek, Merlot 2011 INR 970.00 $17.38 $7.48 2.32
Claar Cellars, Chardonnay 2008 INR 1,250.00 $22.40 $9.35 2.40
Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Pays d’Oc Chardonnay 2009 INR 1,470.00 $26.35 $10.68 2.47
Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Riesling 2009 INR 1,640.00 $29.40 $10.68 2.75
Frontera (Concha y Toro), Chardonnay 2011 INR 1,000.00 $17.92 $6.41 2.80
Bouvet Brut INR 2,200.00 $39.44 $13.89 2.84
Oxford Landing Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz 2010 INR 1,400.00 $25.09 $8.55 2.94
Oxford Landing Estates, Chardonnay 2010 INR 1,400.00 $25.09 $8.55 2.94
Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Chardonnay 2009 INR 1,990.00 $35.67 $11.75 3.03
Zonin Prosecco INR 2,040.00 $36.61 $11.76 3.11
Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Merlot 2007 INR 2,490.00 $44.63 $13.88 3.21
Sutter Home, Sauvignon Blanc 2009 INR 1,360.00 $24.38 $7.48 3.26
Brancott Estate, Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 INR 2,200.00 $39.44 $11.75 3.36
Columbia Crest, Two Vines Shiraz 2007 INR 1,600.00 $28.68 $8.55 3.36
Frontera (Concha y Toro), Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 INR 1,000.00 $17.92 $5.34 3.36
Mateus Rose INR 1,210.00 $21.71 $6.42 3.38
Freixenet Cava, Cordon Rosado, Metodo Tradicional INR 1,790.00 $32.09 $9.27 3.46
Columbia Crest, Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 INR 1,600.00 $28.68 $7.48 3.84
Columbia Crest, Two vines Merlot 2008 INR 1,600.00 $28.68 $7.48 3.84
Carlo Rossi Crisp White INR 900.00 $16.13 $3.74 4.31
Frontera (Concha y Toro), Merlot 2011 INR 1,000.00 $19.72 $4.53 4.35
Yellow Tail Shiraz INR 1,590.00 $28.58 $6.42 4.45
Carlo Rossi California Red INR 980.00 $17.56 $3.74 4.69
Carlo Rossi Cabernet Sauvignon INR 1,050.00 $18.82 $3.74 5.03
Carlo Rossi Chardonnay INR 1,200.00 $21.51 $3.74 5.75
Korbel Natural, Russian River Valley Champagne 2007 INR 6,000.00 $107.56 $16.88 6.37

Methodology:

  1. I obtained the prices in retail shops in the Delhi market (inclusive of VAT). I converted these prices to US$ for comparison with the US.
  2. I obtained prices of the same/similar wines in the US using wine-searcher.com (using either New Jersey or average prices). I then added a sales tax of 6.95% (NJ sales tax rate, source: wine-searcher.com) to obtain a tax inclusive rate.
  3. I calculated relative value using the following formula: tax-inclusive US$ price in Delhi / tax-inclusive US$ price in the US. Lower numbers represent better relative values.
  4. Disclaimer: this analysis remains a rough-and-ready comparison. Think of it as a back-of-the-envelope analysis. I make no claims of absolute accuracy. However, I made an attempt to obtain the best data, and I do think the numbers are directionally correct. I’d welcome comments to improve the analysis.

About Gaurav Anand

Certified Sommelier Gaurav Anand is an India based wine writer, consultant, educator and founder of Wine Forays. He earned his Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds the WSET Advanced certification in Wines & Spirits. Above all, he is a wine lover on a full-time mission to taste and discover the best wines in the world.
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3 Responses to How Expensive is Wine in India? Delhi Wine Prices Benchmarked

  1. Niladri Dhar says:

    Great initiative which tells us why wine is anything but affordable in India. Glad that you used the average price on Wine-Searcher as otherwise the figures could have been off the mark (many retailers deliberately quote lower price on their website to appear on top of Wine-Searcher search results).

    It would be interesting to know the reason for the such huge variation in prices for more or less similar price categories. For example, I’m quite intrigued at the relative price variation between Jacob’s Creek and Yellow Tail.

    Looking forward to some more thought-provoking findings.

    Cheers,

    Niladri Dhar

    • Gaurav Anand says:

      Thanks for your comment Niladri. Yes, it is interesting to see the the huge variation in the prices. I think there are two primary factors at play:

      1. The primary factor, I think, is the importers’ margin expectations. That would explain a lot of the price difference between Jacob’c Creek and Yellow Tail. There may also be other minor factors at play such as Jacob’s Creek benefiting from transfer pricing as Pernod Ricard has a subsidiary in India.

      2. Directly related to the above is the fact that the imported wine market in India is largely opaque from the point of consumers. The high cost of taxes, compliance with excise regulations, licenses etc – essentially keeps availability of quality wine limited, which in turns restricts competition and drives high margins. I don’t think the importers could carry off such high margins if there was more competition, higher availability and, by extension, more transparency. In the end it is the Indian wine consumers who are the losers in this deal.

      Too often we end up blaming high customs duties. However, excise regulations and importers’ margin expectations are at least equal culprits in this scenario.

      Gaurav

  2. Rohit says:

    I am a beer fan. want to switch to Wine but have no clue which wine to pick. I don’t like whiskey and scotch because of its very bitter taste. My taste preference is sweet and i like chilled drinks. Please advise me which wine can i pick . I stay in Delhi

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