Although the current market for wine in China is relatively small, it’s rapidly growing due to the fast-rising middle class and the younger generation who are adopting western habits of consumption. As reported by canoe.ca, China currently consumes 0.7 liters of wine per person a year, against 20-25 liters in mature wine markets. Lawrie Stanford, an Australian-based wine industry consultant, predicts that the market will grow by 30% in the next few years and in the long run will be the fastest growing market in the world.
According to The Australian, Australia has a 20% market share, second only to France. Its sales are being led by brands like Penfolds and Jacobs Creek. It’s expected that exports to China will grow by about 50% this year, reaching a value of AUD$200 million. But Australia isn’t only concerned with selling quantity to China, they want to put their best foot forward and prove the quality of their fine wines. Wine Australia marketing chief Paul Henry says:
The strategy will be based on regionality and fine wine and is aimed at repositioning Australian wine in terms of price image and reputation. Together with the recent Brand Australia launch (by Austrade) we are saying Australia is no longer being the quiet achiever, Australia is a country of outstanding wines.
And New Zealand wants in on the action, says New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan, echoing the above sentiments in regard to quality wines:
Consumers in China appear to be very reputation driven, so we have to make sure we have the right reputation in the market: it’s as simple as that
In 2009, New Zealand exports to China were worth only NZ$6 million out of a worldwide total of NZ$1 billion (of which about one-third goes to Australia), but that figure is expected to triple this year, hitting NZ$50 million in the next five years.
Says Chief Executive of Mud House Wines, Baden Ngan Kee, “I don’t think there’s any quick wins in China. You’ve got to be patient. It’s a complex market and consumers are only just starting to understand wine.”
[Image: Mr. T in DC/Flickr]