Old World wines meet new in "frontier" market India

Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:38am EST
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By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - The future of Old World wines is in emerging markets such as India, where more and more wealthy, young professionals are developing a palate for it, says Salvatore Ferragamo, scion of the Italian luxury goods group.

While winemaking in India dates back several hundred years, it is only in the last two decades that local firms have again tried to grapple with the challenge of producing vintages in a tropical climate.

At the same time, easier regulations have also opened the doors to foreign firms, making wine the tipple of choice for the growing ranks of affluent executives and young women in India.

"Countries like India are the new frontiers," said Ferragamo, who was in Mumbai to launch five wines from the family estates.

"It's an increasingly globalize world, so awareness is high, and demographically, as well, with young consumers and women, there is great opportunity in these markets," he told Reuters.

Ferragamo, 37, is the grandson of the founder of the Ferragamo Company, but he was not drawn to the world of fashion, opting instead for the more painstaking process of winemaking.

He took over Il Borro, a medieval hamlet that his father chanced upon during a hunting trip, and has restored its country houses and promoted tourism to revive the village.

With a history of winemaking dating back to 1760, the Il Borro estate produces five varieties of vine, and its Il Borro, Pian di Nova and Lamelle labels command a premium over labels from New World producers such as Chile and South Africa, he said.   Continued...

<p>People take wine inside a bar in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri August 19, 2008. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri</p>