Grapes are not the stock market. They are all about taste and lifestyle. That's what says the man who has a PhD in wine biotechnology, and likes to address himself as "Laxman" when in India.
Wine expert Lucio Matricardi, a frequent visitor to Bangalore, is now looking at "evolving" the exisiting wine culture in the city, while simultaneously training professionals and wine lovers.
"To be good professionals, people need to travel more, visit vineyards in different countries, see and learn how grapes perform in different climates," says Matricardi, a consultant at the University of Milan, who is here to train professionals in the hospitality sector.
He feels people in Bangalore are interested in taking up jobs in the wine sector. "Specially as it entails a whole lot of travel to vineyards in California, France and Italy. It is a fun job. There is tremendous scope in marketing, food & beverages," feels Matricardi, who has been visiting India since 2006.
However, consumption is still at a nascent stage here, he feels..
As per estimates, per capita consumption of wine in India is 10-12 ml per year. In contrast, per capita consumption in France and Italy is in the 45-55 litres range per year.
"Back home in Italy, people consume wine on a daily basis, at different hours in the day. There it is a part of the lifestyle. On the other hand, here it is mostly during celebrations that bottles are uncorked," says Matricardi.
The wine culture should evolve here, feel experts. Specially since India produces 15 million litres per year (as per data from the All-India Wine Producers Association).
"Since wine is on the expensive side, people here experiment with cheap wine, which does not taste good. I say, if you don't want to buy good wine, then better drink something else," states "Laxman", who is the "guiding spirit" of city-based Big Banyan Wines.
Although the wine industry in the country is slated to touch Rs10,000 crore by 2020, from about Rs1, 050 crore in 2008, Matricardi feels before winemakers embark on meeting targets, they should understand the nuances of the consumption pattern here, "by pairing wine with not just food, but also with different people."
"People should not produce wine just for business purpose. We need people who love wine and are not simply there to make money," says Matricardi.