Nepal’s wine industry predicts boom timesNepal’s wine industry is in high spirits as the market has been expanding steadily with the drink becoming more and more popular among Nepalis.
Nepal’s wine industry is in high spirits as the market has been expanding steadily with the drink becoming more and more popular among Nepalis.
More than 50 brands of wine are produced in the country. Brands like Hinwa, Dandaghare and Divine hold a major share of the market while recently launched Black Stone and Moon Dance are struggling to gain fans, traders said.
Wine breweries have been around in Nepal for decades, but they have remained largely in the background as they have not been able to make much headway in the market until recently. With more Nepalis starting to quaff domestic wine at home and parties, producers expect boom times ahead.
Wine connoisseur Jhalak Thapa established Hill Hut Winery in Pokhara in 2006. According to Thapa, the wine business has started growing satisfactorily in recent years. Hill Hut Winery produces 600 litres of wine daily during the brewing season. It offers four types of wines—Aati, Majheri, Aangan and Pidhi—under the Dandaghare brand. The brewing season lasts from August to March. The brewery produces 1,620,00 litres of wine annually.
“Our wines sell exceptionally well in Pokhara, Kathmandu, Butwal and other major cities. A few years back, people used to buy only expensive imported wines,” said Thapa. “It’s different now. Our sales crossed the Rs20 million mark two years ago, and due to an increasing number of tourists and wine admirers, we expect sales to reach Rs30 million this year.”
According to Thapa, Dandaghare wines are made from honey, herbs, fruits and roots, and give a taste of healthy herbs from the mountains. Aangan and Pidhi are its best selling wines. They cost Rs390 per bottle.
“Brands like Hinwa and Dandaghare were launched long ago, but the wine-drinking culture took time to grow,” said Ramesh Shrestha, president of the Nepal Beverage and Cigarette Industries Association. “Wine businesses have reported rapid growth in consumption in recent years.” According to Shrestha, Nepal’s annual wine requirement totals 15 million litres.
Byash Shrestha, who owns a liquor store at Kupandol, said people prefer Nepali wines over imported products because price greatly influences the buying decision process. “Foreign brands cost nearly double compared to domestic brands. Prices of Nepali products start at Rs300 and foreign products at Rs650.”
“I started the business in 1979. A new wine was launched after a few years, but it did not perform well. In recent days, there as been an increase in the number of middle-income people who seek local wines like Hinwa, Dandaghare and Divine,” said Shrestha.
“During weekends, I sell 36 bottles of Divine wine daily. Preferences vary among customer segments. Middle-income people are the largest buyers of domestic wines,” he added.