WorldWine News


Are dreams of a booming Chinese market already over?

China reduces its imports of expensive Bordeaux wines - this or similar headlines and comments appeared quite frequently in printed or online media, during the last weeks and months. They were fuelled by two current developments: Firstly, the new leadership unter general secretary and state president Xi Jinping has summoned the political and economical elite of the country to put an end to their ostentacious life style, super expensive red wine bottles included. Secondly, the economic growth of the country has substantially slowed down, as analysed by the Wine Spectator in a longer article.

In 2013, Australia's top wines seem on the rise again on the Chinese market. The photo shows Henschke's famous Hill of Grace vineyard. (photo : E. Supp)

Additionally, even the most fanatic among Chinese "label" drinkers and collectors seem to have tired a bit over the never ending price increases of the last decade or so. "The brand era is over. Now they are looking for taste and value", believes Quingdao Shangri-lá's sommelier, quoted by Indeed, the current coverage of China's wine market looks as if the China hype was about to be followed by an anti-hype which in the end could turn out as exaggerated as the nearly religious belief into the Chinese market during recent years.

As a matter of fact, the market still grew, in 2012 for about 10 % in quantity and 16 % in value, even if these rates were considerably lower than those of around 32 % annually since 2006. Nearly all importers into the Middle Kingdom still registered increasing numbers in 2012 except Germany which exported 4.6 % less to China. As before, the Chinese import market is dominated by France with a market share of close to 48 %. Australia, Spain, Chile, Italy and the US are runners-up. Sparkling wines evolved above the avcerage with a growth of nearly 60 % in volumes and 70 % in value. In this field, even Germany was partially successful exporting 6.4 % more sparklers but yielding only 2.2 % more, due to a significantly lower price level.

The idea that the latest crash news are finally not as bad as they look is also supported by the latest numbers published by the Australians. They showed, for the year ending March 2013, an increase in volumes and values, a picture which was brightened by the fact that premium wines performed particularly well.

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Please read also:
China's wine market booms - dominated by a few
Speculation: China becomes most important Bordeaux-market
China - Is the bubble already bursting?

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