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Bruce Cakebread: China market will develop the same as US

The Chinese market for Napa will develop just as the wider US market developed in the 1970s – through education and distribution, a Napa veteran says.

Bruce Cakebread, president and CEO of Napa’s Cakebread Cellars, told Decanter.com that China will embrace Napa – a confidence based on his first sales trips to Texas in the 1970s.

‘We know China will be successful because we’ve done it before in the US.

‘When I first went down to Austin Texas in 1978, we were doing a tasting in a shopping mall, and people couldn’t even pronounce Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. They would feel the bottles and ask for a bit of the cold one.

‘Now Texas is Napa’s third or fourth biggest market.’

Cakebread secured Texas and other US states by concentrating on education and distribution, and he is convinced the process will be the same with China.

Just as Texans 30 years ago had no knowledge of Napa, now some Chinese are passionate about learning but still think Napa is in South America.

‘That is the evolution. We went through all the education process in the 70s and 80s and we’re now doing the same thing in China, so they can understand where Napa fits.’

The next move, Cakebread said, was to ‘move into fine wine retail’ via their importer, ASC Fine Wines.

In the same way that Spanish producer Torres runs the Everwine stores, which carry Vega-Sicilia, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Drouhin, Symington and others, he would like to see ‘a move into those areas. Everybody has their shops now.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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