Mark Aselstine
 
September 13, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

Chinese Wine on the Upswing

Image Courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald

There has been a lot written about the Chinese wine market of late. Some vintners and winery owners (those at the low end of the price per bottle spectrum mostly) believe it is the answer to all their ills. Of course, when the market in a mid sized city can consume 36,000 bottle per month, or more you can see the argument in their favor.

I have wondered for some time how long it would be until the Chinese started producing their own wine at a solid enough price to quality ratio to start curbing the demand for imports. While I can’t see Bordeaux ever taking a back seat in the country and wines from California as an example are still largely unknown. The real problem which comes from a domestic wine program in China isn’t for the more expensive wine coming into the country, but what happens for Chile, Argentina and others existing in the value segment is far less certain. At this point we know the average Chinese wine drinker likes high end imports, but they’ve never had the chance to drink domestically produced, good, affordable wine before. How will they react to having local wineries and wine? In most regions of the world, the increase of local wineries also leads to increased wine consumption in general and oddly, increased imports. Simply put, it is a sign of a healthy wine market.

A story over at the Sydney Morning Herald might be the beginnings of changes in the Chinese wine market. In a highly respected Decanter wine competition (blind tasting mind you) a Chinese winery won for the best Bordeaux style blend in the $15 price point.

Long term, I don’t think there is any question that increased consumption and demand for higher quality wine in China is a good thing for American wineries, especially those in California which hope to eventually benefit from a positive attitude toward the Golden State as well as easy shipping access from both Oakland and Long Beach.
 

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