China’s increasing interest in and demand for western-style wine is providing some great opportunities for wine producers and exporters in Australia. According to Wine Australia, in 2014 our wine exports to China increased by 8% to 40 million litres with a value of AUD $224 million.
In fact, when it comes to wine exports to China, we rank second in the world behind France. At the present time, China is also our strongest destination for premium wines. A report by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority indicates that in 2014, around 90% of our premium wine exports (those priced at more than $50 per litre) were sent to Asia.
And while the UK and USA are our biggest markets for wine exports, China is currently our fastest growing market.
So for producers of quality Australian wine – whether it’s white wines, red varieties such as Australian Pinot Noir, sparkling wines, or Australian organic wine – China may provide enormous potential for exports and growth.
What has brought this about?
As China’s middle class has been growing, an increasing interest in premium goods from overseas has come with it. Some of the fastest-growing consumer products in China include toys, convenience and snack foods, pet products, personal care items, western baby products, and of course wine and whisky. This interest in premium goods is particularly strong among younger and wealthier consumers in China.
The Chinese interest in wine is still in the early stages and is only just becoming what you could call mainstream, but it is likely to expand as Chinese wine retailers, sommeliers and consumers get to learn more about our wines and get opportunities to give them the taste!
What Australia is doing
Wine Australia has decided to capitalise on this trend and has been busy designing a program of activities to increase knowledge about Australian wines in China, such as participation in consumer fairs, trade shows, tasting roadshows, online promos, and award ceremonies. While some of these have already taken place in 2015, there are still more to come. Examples include:
- The Shanghai Wine and Dine Festival in September – designed to showcase international food and wine. Wine Australia will provide daily tastings, wine classes, and entertainment.
- ProWine China 2015 in November – international trade fair for wines and spirits. Wine Australia will be conducting daily tasting classes and offering food and wine matching information.
Wine Australia has also spent time taking Chinese wine retailers on tours through a number of South Australian wineries, enabling them to see first-hand how some of our wines are produced and how they differ according to region and climate.
In addition, trade deals have also been struck between the South Australian Government and China, with Premier Jay Weatherill stating that this could provide enormous opportunities for producers of premium quality goods, including Australian wines.
In conclusion, it’s clear that Australian wine producers should definitely not overlook China as a potential market for their wines – in particular their higher-quality varieties as premium wines appear to have a certain prestige amongst some of the wealthier consumer groups in China.