China-based importer ASC Fine Wines plans to close its Wine Residence private members’ club in Shanghai, following weaker consumer demand for luxury wines and as part of efforts to shift investment to e-commerce and market expansion.
The company said its ASC Wine Residence in Shanghai – a tasting venue and private members’ club – would close due to ‘unprecedented headwinds’ faced by the ‘ultra-premium’ sector of the wine business in China.
ASC Fine Wines’ Shanghai Residence contains some of the world’s best wines and includes private cellar space for collectors, as well as restaurant facilities.
But, government austerity measures introduced at the end of 2012 have seen China’s wine market move away from luxury wines towards more affordable choices. Fine wine importers in China, such as ASC, are striving to adapt to the new market trends.
‘Due to the market changes of the last three years, we have to make the decision to close down the Wine Residence Shanghai, to focus our resources on the development of our core business growths,’ said Bruno Baudry, CEO of ASC Fine Wines.
Further investment in e-commerce, introducing more affordable wines to its portfolio, as well as expanding business in second and third tier cities, are currently key areas of growths for ASC, said Baudry in a previous interview with DecanterChina.com.
Bruno Baudry was appointed CEO of ASC in June 2015, succeeding John Watkins.
ASC also announced last month that its co-founder, Don St Pierre Jr, was to resign his position as a member of board of directors, and leave the company by the end of 2015.
ASC is owned by Japan’s Suntory Wines International.
Editing by Chris Mercer. Sylvia Wu is editor of DecanterChina.