Maharashtra allows wine to be sold in supermarkets

The Maharashtra state cabinet approved the sale of wine in supermarkets or shelf-in-shops last week. The decision is expected to allow winemakers to improve sales and expand their retail footprint. At present, wine is allowed to be sold only through licensed liquor stores and licensed beer and wine stores.

According to a note issued by the government, the size of such shops should be over 1,000 square feet in supermarkets and the shelf size should be 2.5 cubic meters for shelf-in-shop. As per the decision taken in the Cabinet, the government will charge per bulk litre nominal excise duty of Rs 10 on all types of wine bottles.

This is expected to bring in revenues to the tune of Rs 5 crore for the state and will also help the state excise administration ascertain the number of wine bottles sold in the market.

The existing wine policy, which allows the sale of wine only through exclusive liquor stores, has been in force for the last 20 years. The policy lapsed on December 31, 2021, and therefore the government has brought in a revised policy.

Maharashtra has around 45 operational wineries. Of these, between 15 and 20 units directly market products, while the rest are bulk manufacturers and supply wines to the bigger wineries. The wine industry boasts of a turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore annually and Maharashtra contributes 65% of these revenues.

Most wineries are located in Nashik, which produces around 80% of India’s wine, followed by Sangli, Pune, Solapur, Buldhana and Ahmednagar. The current sale of 70 lakh litres per year in the state is expected to go up to 1 crore litres under the new policy for retail sale, industry officials said. The annual license fee for the shelf in the shop will be Rs 5,000 per year If wine sale goes up by 20-25% in a year with the new policy, it will benefit in backward linkages including making of fruit wines.

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