Shanghai government sets up International Wine Exchange

  • Monday 20 June 2011

Shanghai's local government has set up an international trading platform to educate wine investors and to sell approved stocks of fine wines.

Li Wenfeng

The Shanghai International Wine Exchange is an internet platform which aims to be a bridge between consumer or investors, and fine wine producers or suppliers in regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, the United States, Spain or Italy.

It was set up three months ago because ‘the government understands that many Chinese wine investors have limited knowledge of fine wine’, Li Wenfeng (pictured), SIWE president told Decanter.com at Vinexpo yesterday.

The SIWE exists to provide information to investors, to filter out counterfeit wines, and to be ‘a proper channel for anyone who wants to buy or sell wine to have that wine approve and to provide a healthy wine consumption culture in China.

The China Merchants Bank will work together with brokers to offer packages of wines to high net worth individuals, those with assets of RMB5-10m (around USD$1.5m), Li said.

The site will be membership-only, and will be open to international investors, not only in China. The organisers expect individuals, negociants and wine merchants to join.

Provenance of wines sold on the site will be of utmost importance. ‘Wines sold will need to have a trace record from chateau to negociant and to the buyer, and wines sold En Primeur will only be accepted with documentation from chateau to negociant,’ Li said.

The government, via insurers, will underwrite the wines, while researchers will look into the provenance of all wines, contacting bonded warehouses for example to check on paperwork.

The attraction for investors of buying through the SIWE rather than directly from merchants or importers is that it will be ‘an absolutely reliable, non-profit-making channel for wines,’ organisers say.

Asked which wines will be included, Li was clear: ‘Anything with high scores from Robert Parker is a potential investment wine.’

As to how the concept would be received in Bordeaux, one major negociant, Pierre-Antoine Casteja of Maison Joanne, was uneasy.

‘We sell to importers and distributors in China. If we were to join such a wine exchange, we would be in competition with our clients. Why would we want to do that?’

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