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Market Export Informations


The hottest news about wine business outside France

Newly rich chineses developing taste for fine wine



BMWs and Gucci handbags are already firm favourites among China's emerging class of newly rich. Now, fine wines are becoming the latest symbol of luxury.

For people like senior executive Wang Jie, it is an obvious choice to make.


"It tastes better than beer or rice wine, and it's better for your health," Wang said, speaking at a wine tasting event at a top Beijing hotel.

Wang, who started buying wine 10 years ago, estimates he buys around 80 bottles a year, some costing up to 1,000 yuan ($130) apiece. "I'm drinking increasingly expensive stuff. At first only 100 or 200 yuan a bottle, but now up to 1,000 yuan," said the smartly dressed businessman.
That's music to the ears of Don St. Pierre, chairman of Chinese wine importer ASC Fine Wines.

"Probably the fastest growing part of our business is the premium wine end, in particular Bordeaux first growths from the five great chateaux," he said.
"It's just booming unbelievably. So our biggest challenge is having enough wine here to supply the demand," St. Pierre added.
Earlier this year, a Chinese man bought carry-on wine and spirits worth a record 23,000 euros ($31,180) at a Paris airport's duty-free shop -- including a bottle of epic 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, red wine costing 13,800 euros.

In Beijing, a French vintage recently sold for more than 70,000 yuan, many times more than the average Chinese person makes in a year.
China does make its own wine, including brands like Great Wall and Dynasty, but it lacks the cachet and quality of a good French vintage, experts say.

"I think people are starting to understand the notion of quality brands," Prince Robert of Luxembourg, owner of French vineyard Chateau Haut-Brion, told Reuters during a visit to Beijing last week.

"The luxury brand has ignited interest in the Chinese market. There's been a lot of work done by a lot of these luxury groups -- they're very visible here. I think the timing is right for us," he said.
Though Robert estimated the Chinese market was currently small for his winery, the potential was huge.
"In China I would imagine that in the next 10 years we're going to have exponential growth," the prince said.

"I've just seen from my first visits here to China the way the people dress, the way people act, has changed so rapidly and I'd imagine wine is going to be one of these lifestyle changes, certainly in the major cities, that will catch on rapidly."

But some bad habits remain, such as mixing wine with coke or even green tea, which was done in the early days of Western wines in China, when quality was an issue.
"This has become a custom and people even mix the fine wines. That's a bad habit we have to change," said wine critic Frankie Zhao.

Yet for the average Chinese, fine wine is still an extravagance, especially with the proliferation of traditional wine, spirits and beer costing sometimes just cents for a bottle.

"I don't drink wine," said Guo Wei, 22, a magazine editor. "It's not for people like me. Wine is so expensive that I can't afford it."



http://www.reuters.com


2007-04-24

Published on: 2007-05-21
[3609 reads]

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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Nice city.
Colmar. Nice city.



Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy.
[ Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy. ]

·Wine cautions.
·Alsatian whites love a big entree
·Le grand fromage: French cheese scoops the big prize
·Wine and cheese: love at first sight...
·How to store wine
·Selecting a fine wine
·Which glass of wine to use
·How To Taste Wines
·Wine Serving Temperature

Colmar. Nice city.


Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


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