The China wine market has become the eight largest in the world, promising to contend with the top markets of Italy and France within 50 years. Currently, China is the sixth largest producer, while France is line in for first place for production, presumingly overtaking 2009 leader, Italy.1
There have been many changes to production regulations in recent years by the Chinese Ministry of Health. China recently made mandatory the addition of the mention “contains Sulfites” to their wine labels in an attempt to tighten regulations over production and secure their importance among the world’s top producers. Over the last seven years, the China wine industry has seen a steady compounded growth of 19% and the future of the market looks very promising. Just last year, Chinese wine production topped nearly 1 million tons2 as a result of an increasing percentage of land dedicated to vineyards and grape production, about 6% and 11%, respectively.3 That’s an incredible jump of 28% over the previous year’s production.4
For a country with only around 400 or so wineries, those are amazing statistics. This number is expected to jump tenfold over the next 50 years possibly putting China in the number one spot for wine production globally. This includes about 25% of the wineries producing fine wines.5
Practices in the vineyards are taking on a more European approach with classic “Chateau” techniques in regards to grape growing and winemaking in an attempt to lure more domestic consumers into the fold. The growing country already has an affluent and sophisticated wine pallet, but the employ of this new approach should produce more fine wines for China wine consumption. Many wineries are even offering tours of the vineyards complete with facilities for conferences and accommodations. This could lead to more foreign travelers coming from abroad to visit the Chinese wineries, which means more exposure. Right now, Beijing and Shanghai are the leading cities for wine consumption, but with tourism possibilities at the wineries, 2010 could bring a “golden opportunity for China’s wine export as less expensive wine products are becoming favored by the international consumers as a result of the global economic downturn”.6
1 International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).
2 China Food Association.
3 International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV).
4 National Bureau of Statistics.
5 Berry Bros & Rudd’s Future of Wine Report.
6 Wang Yancai, president of China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association (CADIA).