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)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ajay Diwan says:

    If possible pl send me a list of wine importers in India.

  2. Teresita says:

    I all the time used to study post in news papers but now as I am a
    user of web thus from now I am using net for articles, thanks
    to web.

  3. Sauvik says:


    it is very useful information can i please get some more information regarding this and also can you please send me the Excel Sheet as well.


  4. VIDYA SAWHNY says:

    Please send me the excel and if possible a list of Indian wine importers.

  5. vivie says:

    Hi All,

    I work for a Bordeaux wine maker and we are currently looking for clients who import French wines into India. If any of you are interested please email me at vivat(dot)jay(at)gmail(dot)com


  6. Jatin says:

    Hi can you please share the excel.

  7. Vishal says:

    Hi there,

    It seemed like a good read for starters, I am in contact with a wine producer and intend to import wine for sale in India. Since you mentioned , glorifying days for importers were about to start coming, I am curious to know if it is yet?

    Secondly – If new laws and structure in place for e com platform based selling.

    Thanks in advance

  8. Anni says:

    some useful information you have got there please can i receive the excel sheet and a list of best selling wines in india and their prices

  9. Wi-Not says:

    Allow us to update with a new excel sheet and we shall upload it to the site shortly. Best selling wines, we have just put up a post for the top Reserve reds in the country. http://wi-not.biz/2015/02/the-great-indian-red-reserve-wines-report/ Do have a look.

  10. Wi-Not says:

    Pardon the delayed revert but good days are always on the anvil, so close and yet so far. Trick is to start and endure, patiently yet consistently, while the market (and laws) evolve. E-sales for now are not an option as they go against the constitution. All sites/apps selling wine that had sprouted in the last few years have all shut down since.

  11. Wi-Not says:

    We are in the process of updating the sheet as some tax structures have changed. Allow us some time to upload the new one. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.