Chianti Classico producers hope that the new Chinese year of the rooster can help them to reach more wine drinkers in China.
Tuscany’s Chianti Classico wines are known for their black rooster emblem that appears on the bottle neck, and the symbol is used widely by the regional wine council for marketing.
Chinese new year 2017 heralds an opportunity for Chianti Classico in China, as the lunar calendar moves into the year of the rooster from the monkey.
‘We know that 2017 is the year of the rooster in China and we will certainly try to take advantage of it,’ said Silvia Fiorentini, head of marketing for the Chianti Classico Consorzio.
The Consorzio is planning education seminars in China this year.
‘We know that “education” in this market is very important and the black rooster logo is really very helpful for us to help consumers identify our products,’ Fiorentini told Decanter.com and DecanterChina.com.
The rooster emblem has been associated with the Chianti area for around 700 hundred years, dating to a fabled horse race between two rival knights, one from Florence and one from Siena, according to the Consorzio.
Italian wines saw strong growth in shipments to China in 2016.
Exports rose by 39% in value to US$114 million and by 14% in volume versus 2015, according to the latest Chinese customs figures released this week.
China is still a ‘secondary’ market for Chianti Classico at present, but Fiorentini said that she expects this will change. ‘We have good growth prospects for the future and for this reason we will keep on investing [there].’
Italian winemakers have been boosted by online retail giant Alibaba pushing their wines harder in 2016.
Alibaba’s billionaire founder may own châteaux in France’s Bordeaux, but he chose the Vinitaly 2016 show to announce his commitment to growing wine sales.
Other winemakers and estates have previously sought to take advantage of the Chinese zodiac, such as Mouton Rothschild during the year of the ram – or sheep or goat – in 2015 and Cheval Blanc in the year of the horse in 2014.