India wine harvest down this year – opportunity for Australia?

India’s wine grape harvest is well down this year. A spell of unseasonal rain in October and November has spoiled grapes sown in Sangli and Nashik – both are in the State of Maharashtra in the “cooler” areas near the Western Ghats mountain range.


Pictured above – Sula vineyards – dominant Indian wine brand

On average, the state of Maharashtra crushes 20,000 tonnes of grapes and produces 1.2 million litres of wine – this year, however, just 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of grapes will be crushed, resulting in the production of 700,000 litres of wine.

I first heard about this from the Trade Promotion Council of India who produce terrific information about trade with India – well worth having a look at their website.

But the figures hide another reality – quality will be down.

Commenting on the issue, Mr. Rajesh Jadhav, secretary of All India Wine Production Association, said, “There will be a 25% reduction in wine production and due to poor quality of the fruit, it will be difficult to maintain quality.”

India’s millennials (there are 450 million of them) are drinking wine – not in quantity but definitely chasing quality.

The Australian wine industry has a presence in India but mostly at the lower end – cheaper or good value wines led by Jacobs Creek.

Time for Australian wines to pursue sales channels in India!

Asia Society doing great things to connect Australia with India and beyond

Very good news for my hometown Melbourne and our State of Victoria.

Manoj Kohli, Country Head of SoftBank India, SoftBank Group International, was appointed the second Asia Society-Victoria Distinguished Fellow in May 2020.

Manoj Kohli - profile photo 900 x 600

Asia Society Australia-Victoria Distinguished Fellowship is a partnership between Asia Society Australia and the Victorian Government to bring the best minds and ideas from Asia and Australia to Victoria. It aims to generate new ideas and promote greater economic, strategic and cultural connectivity between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The Fellowship will showcase the state of Victoria as Australia’s centre of excellence for Asia insights and capabilities.

The Asia Business Taskforce

On Friday 5 October 2019, the Business Council of Australia and Asia Society Australia announced the formation of an Asia taskforce of senior leaders from the business, education and government sectors to examine how Australian companies and organisations can increase their presence and position in Asia to ensure our continued prosperity and deliver progress for future generations.

The Asia Business Taskforce is chaired by Mark van Dyck, Managing Director (Asia-Pacific), Compass Group, and co-led by Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Philipp Ivanov, CEO Asia Society Australia, and Andrew Parker, Asia Practice Leader and Partner at PwC.

The taskforce examines how Australia can build and enhance its position with the powerhouse Asian economies in our proximity, diversify our economic partners, and prepare for a more strategically and economically competitive region.

Throughout 2020, the taskforce aims to delivering a series of policy recommendations to government.

These are two brilliant programs of the Asia Society here in Australia.


The 7 ways business and brand can thrive in Industry 4.0

The world is moving quickly into a new era known as Industrial Revolution 4.0 and business brands will have to adapt. This will be our biggest challenge “after coronavirus”.

We have already seen Tata Consulting Services (TCS) shake the world of work by announcing a target of 75% or its 450,000 workers operating from home or remotely by 2025. Others will have to follow.

The fourth industrial revolution sees at least ten major changes, each reinforcing the other so that how we do business and how we work will be totally transformed. The first three industrial revolutions were each about only one change – steam, electricity and computers.


Companies will need to be nimble and honest about the status of their brand – the immediate future can either build or destroy your brand credibility. Here are my 7 tips for thriving as a brand in Industry 4.0:

  1. Show your company can continue to learn

Having a “we want to keep learning” brand is highly desirable for the market, clients and future employees. Audit your brand communication – does it show the organisation is curious, reading and listening widely, entering staff and customers into discussion groups and a genuine “learning organisation”.

  1. SECOND – Demonstrate wisdom and common sense

Your clients look for more than knowledge from you – they want a brand that demonstrates common sense. The best way to describe the difference is through the humble tomato – knowledge tells you a tomato is a fruit (not a vegetable) – but common sense prevents you adding the tomato to a fruit salad. Making sure your senior people have mentors can help their levels of common sense.

  1. THREE – Gain good collaboration and friendship skills

Industrial 4.0 will make collaboration easy and instant with anyone, anywhere and anytime – and the change will benefit those businesses that have the skills to reach out, make friends, work across the globe and build collaboration. It is worthwhile evaluating how much you are seen as a collaborative partner.

  1. FOUR – Build cross-border understanding and skills

Already our lives in one country are intersecting with lives of other countries, and Industrial 4.0 will make the globe an even smaller place. Those who have travelled, who have acquired both knowledge and experience of other cultures will be in high demand, simply because almost every job will have global aspects. Prepare your employees via cross cultural training and global exposure.

  1. FIVE – Make everyone an outstanding communicator

Traditional “soft skills” training will not prepare your team for the fast future – outstanding communication skills for Industrial 4.0 will include rapid pitching, ability to support points in a way which moves others, skills to relate directly and closely with those above and below you. The irony is that as the technology impacts even more, it is the brands that communicate well who will succeed.

  1. SIX – Be known as team-based problem solvers

More work will be team-based, and a powerful brand characteristic is being “team-based problem solvers”. Do your problem-solving teams include members from other companies? Should you offer clients and customers a role?

  1. SEVEN – Build self-reliance and resilience

With the pace of change, your people will need to be more self-reliant and resilient. Life will present challenges almost constantly. Make sure your people can cope, because that reflects in your brand being a steady and trusted delivery sources. When staff lose resilience, your brand is also diminished.

Stephen Manallack is the author of four books, including one published in India (“Soft Skills for a Flat World”, Tata McGraw-Hill India), a speaker on communication and is delivering a series of webinars on Industry 4.0 for Indian and Australian universities. He is a blogger at Into India and regular visitor to India. EMAIL


India should be a vital part of the world’s biggest trade deal – RCEP

The countries involved in the world’s biggest trade deal hope to welcome India back into the group – this was announced after their remote meeting last week.

The 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – known as the RCEP – would be the world’s largest when operational, spanning India to New Zealand, including 30% of global GDP and half of the world’s people.


But resistance from India – concerned about a flood of cheap mass-produced Chinese goods hurting small businesses in its economy – came to a head last year when India walked out of the deal. I hope it comes back to RCEP.

India had legitimate concerns and hopefully RCEP will deliver on these. Australian Prime Minister Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Modi have a good relationship and could work together on the way forward.


The meeting, while reaching out to India, also made it clear that one way or another the RCEP deal will be finalised and signed in 2020. 

RCEP includes the ASEAN nations plus China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

India’s TCS to move 75% of employees to work from home – permanently!

Remember this man – his name is Rajesh Gopinathan, Chairman of TCS, and he is about to turn the way we work upside down – permanently!

India’s biggest IT firm, TCS, is set to shake up the global IT industry employment practices – and maybe start a global revolution in how we work.


Post-coronavirus, TCS has announced it will not go back to the old way, launching instead a new model called 25/25 using what is called Secure Borderless Work Spaces (SBWS).

Running up to 2025, TCS will ask a vast majority of 75% of its 450,000 employees globally to work from home, up from the industry average of 20% today.


TCS will discard its 20-year-old operating model and leapfrog into a new mode of work.

Others will have to follow. For a start, how will they compete for the best recruits? And how else will they achieve productivity gains?

The new model called 25/25 will require far less office space than occupied today. “We don’t believe that we need more than 25% of our workforce at our facilities in order to be 100% productive,” says TCS’s chief operating officer NG Subramaniam (pictured below).

tcs subramanian

TCS is something of a bellwether among India’s IT services firms, so Wipro, Infosys and others will likely follow.

Experts say before the lockdown no more than 15-20% of employees ever worked from home among the Indian services firms.

I have been on some of the Indian IT “campuses” – huge sites usually on the edge of the city in a park-like area with multiple buildings, lifestyle facilities and essentially a “living away from home” model for thousands of employees.

All this will change – and fast.

tcs campus