• Spain's news in English

Spanish winemakers eye China's wine frontier

AFP · 10 Nov 2013, 11:43

Published: 10 Nov 2013 11:43 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Exports of Spanish wines surged 40 percent year-on-year in China in the first half of the year, according to Chinese customs reports, and it is now the third-biggest exporter of bottled wine to the lucrative wine market behind France and Australia.

"The Chinese are now searching for wines other than from France because they are more educated about wines from other countries," Hong Kong wine expert Mabel Lai told AFP.

But price is also a reason. Wines from Spain and other countries such as Italy, Portugal and Australia sell for less compared with French wines said Lai, who is a lecturer at the Hong Kong Wine Academy.

A top bottle of Spanish wine may range from US$260 to $390, but a bottle of a highly rated French vintage could be double that amount, she said.

French winemakers at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair say increasing competition in the Chinese market is a good thing for the industry. France holds a roughly 50 percent share of the Chinese market.

"A little bit of competition will force us to improve our production and our winemaking," Jean-Laurent Soule, a sales manager for French winemaker Ravoire et Famille, told AFP, welcoming competition from other countries.

"We are still confident about the quality of our products," Soule said.

November's International Wine and Spirits Fair, one of Asia's largest, is partnered with Spain this year and has attracted more than 1,000 producers from around the world, as the southern Chinese city cements its position as an international wine hub.

Hong Kong, which abolished duties on wine imports in 2008, has become a gateway to the booming wine market in mainland China. In recent years, the city overtook New York to become the world's biggest wine auction hub.

Spain is seizing the opportunity to introduce its products to one of the world's fastest growing wine markets.

"Now wines from Spain (and other countries) are getting bigger and we are travelling around the world, and letting people know about their wines," Carlos Moreno, export manager for Spanish winemaker Bodegas d. Mateos, told AFP.

"The potential of this market is huge," Moreno said of China, adding that European and Western markets are "quite crowded".

Jack Chen, a 35-year-old wine shop owner in Shenzhen and a buyer at the Hong Kong fair, told AFP that good wines would always be accepted in the Chinese market.

"The Chinese consumers will have an open attitude towards the wine no matter if it comes from France, Spain or from other countries. As long as it is good stuff, the Chinese will accept it," Chen said.

October figures from the Bordeaux wine producers' body, Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), showed that the value for the Chinese market recorded a fall of almost 10 percent in terms of value for the year ending July.

Story continues below…

"We no longer have the exponential increases in volume and value that we had a few years ago," CIVB deputy president, Allan Sichel said then.

Chinese wine consumption soared 142.1 percent from 2007 to 2011, reaching a total of 159.25 million cases or 1.91 billion bottles, the leading wine and spirits trade fair organiser Vinexpo said in March.

Although the growth rate -- the world's fastest in wine consumption, -- is tipped to slow to 39.6 percent between 2012 and 2016, a total of 252 million cases of wine are expected to be drunk annually in the Chinese market, including Hong Kong, in 2016.

The 2012-2016 expansion rate stays ahead of the world's biggest wine consumption market, the United States (12.2 percent) and France, which is predicted to see a three-percent contraction in 2016, according to Vinexpo.

Demand has surged in the world's second largest economy in recent years, driven by a rapid expansion in personal wealth as well as growing demand for foreign products.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available