China is showing an increasing taste for Australian wines. In fact, when it comes to sales of wine to China, Australia ranks second after France in terms of the value and volume of supply. In addition, while China is not Australia’s biggest wine market at the present time, it is certainly our fastest growing international destination for wine sales.

These trends could provide some excellent opportunities for Australian wine growers and exporters.

Some facts and stats from Austrade

  • Red wine forms around 90% of wine consumption in China.
  • White, sparking and sweet wines are mostly preferred by younger people and women. Sparkling wine constitutes only a small percentage of wine import volume in China. However, the sparkling wine market increased by 45% in the period from 2012-13 to 2013-14 – indicating that interest in it is growing.
  • Once the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) comes into effect, considerable growth in Australian wine consumption in China is expected to occur, especially with the decrease in tariffs that will accompany the agreement.
  • Wine tastes differ from one region to the next. Full-bodied and higher alcohol wines are preferred in the north of China, and lighter varieties in the south.
  • Distribution channels for wine are changing in China, with convenience stores and wine cellars providing new models, and online and restaurant sales also growing in popularity.
  • Good presentation is important, such as elegance in the design of bottles and labels. Preference is also shown for six bottles per case over 12.

Entering the wine market in China

As for entering any new market or region, it’s vital to analyse the Chinese market. This enables you to determine a target market for your wine and to find the most appropriate distribution channels. Other steps include:

  • Source a national agent and distributor in China. It’s also important that you communicate well with your distributors and provide them with plenty of training on your wines.
  • Develop Chinese-language marketing materials, including a website optimised for Baidu (China’s main search engine). You should also consider promoting through Chinese social media. Weibo and WeChat are the main platforms.
  • If possible attend wine events to build up a brand presence and attract interest in your product.

Wine events in China and online

The Shanghai Wine and Dine Festival was held in September 2015 and enabled wine exporters to engage directly with consumers.

For those who missed this one there are plenty of other opportunities coming up, including:

  • ProWine China – this event will enable Australian wine sellers to set up a booth in the pavilion sponsored by Wine Australia. It will be held in Shanghai on November 11-13, 2015.
  • Australian Wine Online Promotion– online sales promotion event run over three weeks in December 2015 by Wine Australia with a leading online Chinese wine retailer.
  • Australian Wine Retail Promotion – will be held in Shanghai and other cities from November 20 to December 16, 2015.
  • China National Food, Wine and Spirits Fair – three-day event to be held at the end of March 2016 in Chengdu.
  • Top Wine China – to be held in Beijing in June 2016.

For more assistance in getting your marketing right for Chinese wine lovers, feel free to contact one of our China Online Marketing team members.

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