The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) facilitated the presence of 24 esteemed Australian wineries at ProWine Mumbai this year – the largest-ever Australian wine delegation to India. This initiative was delivered in partnership with the State Governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia with the support of Wine Australia. Known for their bold innovation, unique environments, and over 100 quality grape varieties, Australian wines are redefining the beverage landscape. The timing couldn’t be better for Australian wines in India. The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) entered into force on 29 December 2022 and has already seen the 150% tariff on Australian wine over US$5 per bottle (CIF) substantially reduced, with further reductions over the next eight years. In about a month, premium Australian wines will see another round of phased tariff cuts making Australian wines a great proposition for Indian wine importers.
We are proud to bring a great variety of Australian wines to ProWine Mumbai this year,” shared John Southwell, Trade and Investment Commissioner (Agrifood). “This event isa testament to the thriving partnership between Australia and India, fostering trade and cultural exchange. We have delivered an immersive experience, showcasing the diversity and excellence of Australian wines that are fit for the Indian palate to support the continued development of India’s thriving wine food and wine scene – and the businesses that support them.” Sonal Holland, India’s only Master of Wine interacted with the media and spoke about the various wines and their specialities in her signature style.
BOTT spoke to John Southwell, Trade and Investment Commissioner (Agrifood) in an exclusive chat in which he shared some interesting insights.
How important is India to you as a market?
India is a very important market to Australia generally speaking but for wine as well. It is very important for Australia to look at and see the growth of the Indian economy and the fact that we can contribute to and complement Indian production. We are not about competing. It is about contributing, complementing and cooperating.
What are the marketing strategies that are being implemented?
We have the ‘Australia India Business Exchange’ which is the Australian Government’s flagship program for the Indian market. It’s about increasing business literacy, increasing business connections, providing services, advising support to Australian exporters and connecting them with Indian businesses. The tagline for AIBX is ‘partnering for prosperity’ and we can enable that growth not just in terms of exporting but also contributing to Indian businesses as well. If we can contribute to the growth of Indian businesses, we will be able to grow our businesses as well. Under the AIBX program we have had several different sectors that have had several events, missions delegations etc. over the last three or so years. Everything from critical minerals, agrifood (including wine), education, infrastructure, defence, advanced manufacturing services as well as tech as well.
What is the USP of Australian wines which appeals to th Indian audience?
We are not bound to tradition. In many other parts of the world, there is a traditional way of doing things and while we do follow tradition in terms of wine-making we make it our way. We have some of the oldest vines in the world so we are arguably an old-world wine country, not a new-world wine country. Another part of our USP is Australia’s unique environments as well as our bold innovation.
What is your vision for the next five years about wine tourism?
With the increased dealings between Australia and India, we encourage as many people to come and see the sprawling hills, the shorelines and of course the wonderful cities as well. In terms of the other direction, you can see here right now, that 24 Australian wineries have come to India. We always encourage them to hang around a few days as well to go see the Gateway of India, go up to Nasik, go to Bengaluru have a look at the Mysore Palace as that too is incredibly important as well to understand more about this place as well which is a continental market and an incredible place in its own right!