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Wine Country China …?
Britt is in China this week. One of ten invited international wine experts to judge a wine competition with Chinese wines in the Ningxia region. Britt was there already in 2005, on a similar mission. Much has happened since.
In 2005, the Chinese wines were not something that impressed, so it will be interesting to see how they are today. The competition includes, I think, mainly wines made in China by winemakers from other countries, invited to make wine in China.
China will undoubtedly have a major impact on the world wine market in the future. But how is hard to know.
Wine is a fairly new phenomenon in China. It is not a traditional drink with a meal. What, when and how to drink will therefore depend on things other than traditions.
Already today China is an important player in the wine world. China has the world’s second largest area planted with vines. Only Spain has more vines than China. France is third, and then Italy. This does not mean that China is the second largest producer of wine in the world (as many wrote when China overtook France in vineyard area a few years ago). A majority of the grapes are used for other purposes, edible grapes, grape juice, raisins…
But China does makes a lot of wine. In 2016 it was the world’s 6th largest wine producer. However, Italy, who was the biggest in 2016, makes more than four times as much wine as China. China has about the same wine production as Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. Around 10 million hectolitres each.
China is also a major importer of wine. Sometimes it is said that China only buys exclusive expensive wines. That’s wrong. It was truer a few years ago, before anti-corruption and bribery became a major point on the political agenda. This dramatically changed the picture. But sure, China buys a lot of luxury wines as well. There are many rich Chinese people. There are simply many Chinese people.
Today, China is the largest export market for Bordeaux wines, by a good margin. That does not happen by just buying luxury wines. But it’s true that strong brands are important; That’s probably why Bordeaux is doing well in China, the world’s strongest brands for wine.
There is also a lot of talk about Chinese buying up vineyards. Yes, it’s happening but it’s not on a big scale. Yet, at least. Also in this case it is about well-known names, or at least well-known districts. It is primarily in Bordeaux this happens. A little more than 100 Bordeaux chateaux are owned by Chinese today. Of a total of around 7000 properties, so it’s not an invasion.
What is pretty certain is that China will more and more have an impact on the wine market in the world. But how? Well… What do you think?
But it will probably take some time before we, BKWine, start organising wine tours to China. (Although we have already made wine tours for Chinese. And if anyone is interested, we can tailor design a tour to China…) For the moment you will be content with our more “regular” destinations.
There are a few places left for our winter tours (February-March): to South Africa and maybe even to Chile-Argentina. Book now if you want to come!
The spring travel program is almost finished; you will find the dates below. Detailed programs are coming soon.
Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !
This post is also available in: Swedish