About the Chinese Wine Market

Although China’s bustling metropolises and staid Bordeaux may seem worlds apart, the two are becoming increasingly intertwined. Indeed, China recently overtook the traditional strongholds of Germany and the United Kingdom to become Bordeaux’s largest export destination. This transformation is particularly remarkable given the country’s short history of mass wine consumption. Historically, beverages such as sorghum-based baijiu and beer have dominated Chinese alcohol consumption, with wine only recently gaining wide acceptance.

 

Bubbling to the Top

 

 In the past few years, China, the world’s second largest economy, has become one of the world’s most important wine markets, offering both high growth potential and generous profit margins. By volume, the country is currently the fifth-largest consumer of wine, with - sales of 1.872 billion bottles in 2011.  Wine sales have more than doubled in China from 2005 – 2011, increasing 227% from a base of 576 million bottles sold in 2005, and experts predict further rapid growth.

 

Foreign wine imports have also grown rapidly. In 2010, imports grew to more than 20% of total wine consumption, a four-fold increase since 2005. Reductions in tariffs following China’s accession to the WTO have been one factor in this growth. Currently, an estimated 20 million adults drink imported wines on at least an occasional basis. Given that this figure is a fraction of the overall estimated 200 million plus people who have the purchasing power to buy imported wine, the future for foreign wine appears bright.

 

China Wine

Sales Growth

2005 - 2011

 

(millions of bottles)