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Major Chinese retailer ditches Left Bank Bordeaux

One of China's largest wine retailers has announced it will stop promoting the classified estates of the Medoc as their prices make them 'too dangerous'.

Aussino Cellars, which has 200 stores in 100 cities across China, has cancelled a dinner with the Union des Grands Crus and has said it will promote the Right Bank instead of Left Bank wines.

Grace Cai of Aussino told Decanter.com, ‘The prices of the Grand Cru wines are too high because of the booming wine market in China, and it is very dangerous to keep on promoting them.

‘The market is further complicated by forgeries, and by large numbers of importers competing over the same brands. Aussino wants to work with stable and loyal partners, and find good value, high quality wines for the consumer in China.’

The company was planning to hold a wine dinner with the UGC in November during a wine festival at its headquarters in Guangzhou, but has now decided to not run the event.

‘As our consumers become more and more educated about wine, they will realise that they are buying over-heated brands, and we want to offer them wines with stability,’ Cai said.

Aussino is not intending to stop buying Bordeaux, and confirms that consumer demand is still there, but it is shifting its focus to the Right Bank, and more specifically to Pomerol, concentrating on specially-created brands by J-P Moueixand Thienpont, as well as the traditional chateaux.

There is no further information at this stage as to what the new brands will be. Cai confirmed, ‘We want exclusive brands. We don’t want to compete for the big chateaux brands with other importers, which then further drives up prices.’

UGC president Sylvie Cazes said, ‘We are sorry to hear Aussino doesn’t want to organise the tasting with us this year, but we are committed to China, make at least two trips a year there and would be happy to work with Aussino in the future.’

The owner of Aussino, Robert Shen (sometimes known as Robert Shum in Cantonese) was No 17 in the Decanter Power List 2011 – up from No 28 in 2009.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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