The value of Chinese wine imports increased by nearly 50% last year and is now worth approximately US$32.2m.
The majority of wines imported by China are from Chile, with France, Australia, the US, Argentina, Italy and Spain following in that order. The total volume of wine imported over the year ending in September 2003 increased to nearly 40% on the year before.
The huge growth is attributed to increased personal wealth and changing lifestyles in China.
‘Chinese taste is changing and this is mainly due to westernisation,’ said Janet Kealey, editor of China-Britain Trade Review.
According to the news website chinaonline, red wine has become fashionable in China where increasingly ‘westernised’ consumers drink it in social circles.
However, the icon wines of the old or new worlds do not impress the majority of Chinese people.
‘Apparently, the Chinese like to mix their red wine with Sprite,’ said Kealey. Reports suggest that the cheap imported red wines are often mixed with Sprite or Seven-Up and ice.
‘This suggests that to sustain growth, consumers need to be educated on how to serve and how to savour and appreciate a wine,’ said chinaonline.
Written by Oliver Styles