Exporting Wine to India

VinhoThis is perhaps the most important set of questions that we get asked – How is the Indian market, do Indians really drink, what are the taxes, how does one go about getting wine into India. So we thought it would be easier to address this once and for good. Once again, what we are putting here is a general idea and the actual requirements could be a bit different. If you find discrepancies please mail us and we shall amend accordingly.

Indians do drink; if anything intoxication and over-indulgence would be the more serious of our problems. The market, which has laid dormant for some time was growing silently but the anticipated rush from increased commercial activities, foreign direct investments, shooting markets, a leaping economy, 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the arrival of multinational retail outlets across Indian cities and towns is signalling a never-before change on the horizon.

Onto the next topic: wine logistics. Moving wine into or even within India is a nightmare. In fact, it is so tough that part of the success in the wine business depends on how you manage to reach the correct wines to their target destination. So, to help simplify how things work, here is a hopefully-not-too-confusing explanation of bringing wines into India.

If you are intending to send wines for a tasting, then know that courier is a tough channel; simply because there is no telling when it works and when it doesn’t. Too many narrow-minded and unprofessional people have piled up their personal stocks by importing wines under this pretence all while promising wineries a distribution plan. The result has been that wineries are left feeling embittered and cheated and courier companies have gotten smarter. If you must send stock, try and limit quantities to no more than one bottle of each wine or else send smaller bottles. A better plan would be to forward (sea/air) through a registered licensed wine importer. The documents required to clear the shipment are as follows:-

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing List
  3. Country of Origin Certificate
  4. Chemical Analysis Report
  5. Air Way Bill Copy

Once the documents are received by the clearing party, the shipment can be cleared and bonded either in a private or a public warehouse. Ideally, you should bond the stock in a duty-free custom-bonded warehouse or else the customs will insist for a PHO (Prevention of Health), under the PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration) Act. If this happens then the shipper will be required to send one bottle of each wine for a laboratory test for which samples will have to be drawn from the consignment and once the report comes as positive (i.e. fit for import), only then will customs release the remaining stocks. A different label of a wine even from the same wine-house is considered as a different wine for the sake of examination.

While all this is being conducted you will have to pay detention charges to the Airport Authority for holding the stocks for as many days as required till the test results come back. By bonding in a Custom Bonded Warehouse, all these problems can be avoided.

Finally, the stocks can be transferred to the importer’s warehouse. From here, the stocks can be moved after payment of customs duties and the destination’s state levies.

To give an idea of how the duties and local levies calculation works, do have a look at the attached Excel sheet. (I still can’t figure out how to upload the file itself but write us and we shall be happy to mail it to you.)

Some things which have been assumed and you may change as per your own case specifications would be as follows:

  • Freight charges (cost of shipping from your winery to the final destination, usually a port like Mumbai. This will also change depending on the medium and quantity of stock sent.)
  • Current conversion rate for the Euro (which is used in this table solely to calculate the State duty in Delhi)
  • VAT and TCS have been added but some hotels may prefer to see price lists without the same.

So, as you can see, it isn’t exactly a cheap affair; even simple wine becomes fairly expensive, and to this will be added the most incomprehensible and incorrigible and irrational of margins yet to be inflicted on the wine: that of the hotels and restaurants (roughly 3-5 times of their buying price). So, for the consumer, the selling price of a wine on a hotel list in India is about 30 times or more than what it is in a similar restaurant in the country of origin of that wine.

Hence, it is incorrect to say that Indians do not drink wine because it is not a part of their culture or because it does not go with spicy Indian food. Indians do not drink wine because it is extremely expensive and unaffordable. The only reason we drink Indian wine (well some of us who are desperate enough at least) is because we have to pay less for it than any foreign wine in retail.

However all is not despair; there is a duty-free scheme made available to all establishments that earn foreign exchange. Mostly hotels but also some restaurants are allowed to import a certain percentage of their foreign exchange earnings without paying central (custom) duties. This means an exemption of around 160%. Now, wines become a lot more affordable. This is not available to all restaurants and not at all to retail but there also some good news is awaited. Wine is soon to be classified as a soft alcoholic beverage and, along with beer, would soon be available through many other retail channels than just liquor shops. A similar license could also be introduced which would cost a lot lesser than the full-range liquor service license. This new license would enable a bar to serve beer and wine exclusively thus furthering the awareness quotient.

So, all in all, times are not all that bad. If you have already been in touch with an importer we suggest you try and take things forward. I hope this has been useful. I look forward to your queries or random extremely large sums of donations.

All in Euros

Rupees to Euro







AV (Assessable Value)=101% of CIF

CD (Custom Duty @ 160% OF AV)

SAD (Special Additional Duty @ 4% of AV+CD)


Custom Duty









State Taxes

CD (Custom Duty)

SE (State Excise @ INR150.5)

Total Taxes (CD+SE)

VAT @ 20% of CIF+CD+SE

TCS @ 1.133% of CIF+CD+SE+VAT

Landed Cost=CIF+









CD (Custom Duty)

SE (State Excise= 200% of AV)

Octroi (7.14% of AV+CD+SE)

Total Taxes (CD+SE)

VAT @ 20% of CIF+CD+SE

TCS @ 1.133% of CIF+CD+SE+VAT

Landed Cost=CIF+OCtroi+











About the Author

Wi-Not is India’s only professionally qualified and managed Wine & Beverage Solutions Company. We are a collective of wine and beverage professionals who are united in our belief that all drinks are special, and different, and consequently need to be presented and marketed uniquely so. The best of brands need the best of plans and that is what we do. The Wi-Not team comprises young certified and experienced professionals who have spent a considerable amount of time working in the field of beverages and especially wine, both in India and abroad (and are still young enough to resonate with the pulse of our burgeoning market!) Big words, but the principle behind all our work and efforts is simply this: You can create a brand over and over again but unfortunately you can kill it only once!

Comments (61)

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  1. Harshal Shah says:

    Nice calculation on the cost of wine in India. Is there any chance this could appear in a single frame to save scrolling..I keep losing my place in the row.

    This is a perfect example of how and why the cost of imported wine in India makes it practically unattainable to the everyday wine lover.

    Keep up the good work.


  2. Wi-Not says:

    Hey Harsh,
    Valid point; will try and squeeze columns. Will also try and make it an active excel sheet. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. amrit says:

    Would you be so kind as to send me the above calculation in excel spreadsheet, you have my email address as I have provided it to leave a reply. Thanks

  4. Naren says:

    Nice analysis. Can you please send me the excel spreadsheet so I can understand the numbers better? Thanks!

  5. Gerard says:


    I know this thread is quite old now but i would be grateful if you could forward me the excel file.

    many thanks,


  6. Pete says:

    Thanks for all the great information. Can you please email me the excel file..

  7. Jiten Shah says:

    Thanks for the information. Please email me the excel file.

  8. Nav says:

    Hi, The information is very comprehensive. can you tell me if this information is current?

    Is wine now classified as a soft alcoholic beverage as mentioned in your information?

    Can you advise or update this information?

    Can you also send me the above calculation in an Excel spreadsheet.



  9. Arun says:

    Very good information. Please send me the mentioned calculation in the excel spreadsheet. Also, please confirm that the calculation is up to date.

  10. vishaal talwar says:

    may i know what are the formalities to open a pub in india especially in upcoming malls or existing one.

  11. Umesh Saini says:

    Hi great work …can u plz send me excel file.. thank u

  12. Harry says:

    Very nice calculation for the two metros .Their are few querries :
    1)Can we get the data for the wines quantity both in cases & litres being exported to India for last three years?
    2)After Mumbai,Delhi which are the states selling most of the imported wines & what % of total sales?
    It was really fabulous information.

  13. Sandeep Bhardwaj says:

    Good to hear about indian wine info.
    Please send me the mentioned calculation in the excel spreadsheet.

    i am very much interested to import wines from overseas, and your info made me feel bit better and at the same time concerned about customs procedures which cause undue distress……..

    would u be able to send me the some names of freight forwarders in mumbai/delhi who clear the wine shipment and deliver it to the consignees?

  14. Nandita says:

    Interesting article. Would it be possible to have the excel sheet please?

    I presume that the foreign samples intended for tasting dont need to be registered in the state then?

  15. Gagan Sharma says:

    Dear Ms. Sirohi,
    The samples sent to India only for tastings can skip the process. They can be sent directly to the respective offices via Blue Dart/DHL with a transfer permit attached.

  16. ashit gwalani says:

    Thank you for knowledge. I would like to receive the excel sheet to calculate the landed cost, also would like to know to duty structure and posible changes that are expected.
    Thank you again.

  17. ADITYA says:



  18. Gagan Sharma says:

    Dear Aditya,
    It is indeed a tedious process. The good news is that you don’t require any licences to simply receive the free samples.
    Let us know if we could assist you in anyways possible.
    Good luck

  19. peter says:

    i have just a question, if i have to send some samples to an india importer, how much do i have to pay if i want to take care of all the cost?i mean the costs at the custom?
    thank you so much

  20. Ken Husband says:

    Great Article, could you possibly forward the excel spreadsheet to me.

    Also is there any way to convert from rupees to U.S. dollars in the sheet?

  21. Sankalp Dhavale says:


    Is the above cost card still valid or have some elements changed?

    We would like to move boutique sparkling white’s into the markets of Pune and Mumbai and would like to know if the costing will be worth our while 🙂


  22. JB says:

    Thanks!! best information so far. Would you be kind enough to forward the excel sheet.

    Thanks again,


  23. Barry C says:

    Hi There,

    I want to import wine to India. Can I get the excel sheet to calculate the details. also –

    1. How do I go about getting a licence for this?
    2. or can I simply import the wine and be associated with a distributor who can distribute it for me.

    Any help would be great.
    Barry C.

  24. Colin says:

    Advice Required.
    I am an Uk Expat and now living in Delhi.
    I have been monitoring the luxury goods market here nad now feel its time to start an Independent Wine Importing and distribution business.

    I am especially looking to source wine from Australia and Sothn Africa.

    If there is anyone that can advise further, please send me an email to colin.downey@ymail.com


  25. Gounder Vijayan says:

    We are Manufacturer of Red & White wines and want to export it . If any one interesred in exporting the wine than please mail .



  26. Iqbal says:

    Can you also send me the calculator please. Can anyone advise as to what kind of license is required for wine distributorship in India. I am Australian based and am planning to export wine to India.



  27. Hello,

    Wonderful, insightful article. Enjoyed learning what is in store for myself with regards to importing wine into India.
    1. Could you please send the latest excel doc?
    2. Can you reccomend an established, well respected distributor in Delhi & Mumbai?
    3. What price ranges for wine are you seeing consumed most?

    Thank you very much for your time !

  28. James Bale says:

    Thanks for the article, I’m going to forward this to a number of people! Please could you email the excel sheet to me? It would really help a lot.


  29. Alok says:

    Plz mail me that excel sheet…..Thnks in advance…

  30. Vishal Gupta says:

    Can you please provide me with the excel spreadsheet with the latest calcs. Thanks a ton in advance.

    I am venturing into exporting wine from California. If any importer from india wish to reach out to me to talk about possible partnership, please write to me at vishal.gupta1980@gmail.com. Although i deal with wines from Temecula county and other wineries in southern california, i can facilitate export from other wine counties such as Napa valley

  31. Sennen` says:

    Very interesting and helpful article.Thanks and greatly appreciated.Just one doubt would your calculations apply if it is an individual wanting to export wines to India from say England.May i have the excel sheet also please .
    Thanks a lot

  32. Fernando Pereira says:

    Very Nice article.

    Could you please send the latest excel documents on how to work out the cost.
    2. Can you provide importers list in India. We are Portuguese manufacturer.
    my email address is odhave@aol.com

  33. Atul Cantilal says:


    Very good article. Could you please be kind and send me the excel spreadsheet to my email address?



  34. Sardeep says:

    Hello! Thank your for the article, a real eye opener. May i request the calculations to figure out the current cost. Your help is appreciated.


  35. anuj says:

    in chandigarh????????

  36. Sanjay says:

    I wish to import and distribute Chilean wine in India.
    I have absolutely no experience of this trade. I am based in Pune. What would be your advise?

  37. Stephen says:

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the much needed information.

    I am based in Melbourne and have developed an excellent relationship with a boutique vineyard and would like lunch the brand in India.

    Can you please send me the updated costings in an excel spreadsheet?



  38. msepassi says:

    Could you please send me the updated costings in an excel sheet?
    I would also appreciate getting a list of the importers list in India.

    Thanks so much

  39. athar says:

    Great page !
    Iam looking to export italian wines to India
    iam from India and i’m working with italian wine distributor in italy.can somebody give me the excel spreadsheet with updated costings
    1. Could you please send the latest excel doc?
    2. Can you reccomend an established, well respected distributor in Delhi & Mumbai?
    3. What price ranges for wine are you seeing consumed most?
    4.what percentage of alcohol in wine are you seeing consumed most ?

    Thank you very much !
    best regards
    Athar Bhat

  40. Wi-Not says:

    Hi, we’re waiting for the duty calculation for this year. Once it is released, we’ll share the updated sheet pronto.

  41. Wi-Not says:

    Hi, we’re waiting for the duty calculation for this year. Once it is released, we’ll share the updated sheet pronto along with the importers’ list.

  42. Mnoz says:

    Hi Everyone!!
    I am from Melbourne(AUS) now days in India. I see a good growth of wine drinkers in India.
    Could someone help me information regarding wine Export to India from Australia. I have also heard about Duty free buying from hotels??? If I have buyers for wines in India can I import it or do I need licence?? What are other breakdown of charges and costs involved?? Could I also get the breakdown in excel sheet please please..
    Any kind help will be appreciated..

  43. Snehil says:

    Looking at Exporting wines to India. Would appreciate if you can email me updated costings.

  44. Jan Marie says:

    I would like an updated report as well. Thanks so much.

  45. DB says:

    Can you please email me the excel sheet, want to take a looking into the costings. Thank you.

  46. Naresh patil says:

    We are Manufacturer of Red & White wines and want to export it . If any one interested in exporting the wine than please mail .patilnaresh10@gmail.com

  47. Abhinav Aery says:

    What are the margins that a distributor is looking for to take the distributorship of foreign Wine.

  48. hemant says:

    thanx,, for the information,,,,, It is been very tough and unreasonable to import wine into india,,, as the custom duty sucks….Indian Government should step up to reduce taxes…

  49. Manuj says:

    Great post,

    I am interested in starting wine business in India from Australia. Can you please provide me with the updated costs associated with it. Also if anyone can guide me through the process of exporting from Asutralia, I will be grateful.


  50. Rahul says:

    Hi Wi-Not Author,

    How do the above rule imply, if a consumer decides to purchase a bottle or a case of wine from overseas online? Does the import duty apply (i would think it still would)?
    Are you aware if companies such as DHL or FEDEX do delivery of wines in India?

    BTW, wouldnt mind a copy of the excel sheet?



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