Chinese wine market: bright horizons for foreign producers?

China WineThe International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported the increasing relevance of Chinese consumption trends in its last global report. China is the 5th market in the world, with a wine consumption value of over 15 million hectolitres (Mhl) per year, not too far from traditionally strong target countries like France, USA, Italy and Germany.

These growing opportunities for major wine producers characterised the last edition of Vinitaly, one of the leading wine exhibitions in the global market, involving more than 150 visitors and 53 professionals from all over the world. The traditional relationship with the US market, inspiring close collaborations with WineSpectator or the OperaWine project, was integrated with a stronger attention to the Chinese consumers.

The exhibition hosted an official delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, as well as several top professionals, dealers, wine-bloggers and opinion leaders from China. Industry associations also presented a market research by G.Micozzi (LUISS University) involving more than 10 international wine professionals and explaining how BRICS countries are the only fast-growing target market for wine producers, with an ambitious forecast of +36% growth in the Chinese market.

It’s been only the final celebration of a widely well known market trend among wine professionals. Only four weeks before Vinitaly, top wine producers and trend-setters attended the Boroli Wine Forum focusing on “Wine and architecture: Italian culture conquering China”. The workshop had an impressive media coverage among specialised magazines.

LaVINIum, a leading independent online wine magazine launched by eminent Italian sommeliers, professionals and wine lovers, published a detailed report focusing on the key marketing factors for Italian companies approaching Chinese market. For example the consumer segmentation, explained by Ms. Yue Cheng (China Central Television) during the workshop, divides the market in three main categories: the wellness-oriented consumer, the status-symbol drinker, and the young shopper.

The first consumer profile believes in a close relationship between wine and health, considering the wellness properties of the product, that should be the soul of every effective promotional campaign. The status-symbol drinker is a wealthy consumer who consider the product an exterior expression of a social status. He’s not price sensitive, but he’s deeply connected to the brand identity. Finally the young shopper who’s focused on cheaper products, looking for a different culture influence and trying to develop a better tasting experience and wine knowledge.

The author claims that a synergistic marketing strategy is the only way to approach the market, focusing on the close connection between wine culture and Italian style identity. It could fill the gap from other competitors, French producers mostly, with a better brand identity and product knowledge among target consumers.

The same strategy is also considered by the institutional organisations, private companies. Every commentator stresses also the weakness of the fragmented Italian scenario, unable to offer an external identity of national unity and brand homogeneity, delivering an effective cultural message that would fit for a fast-growing market and a different social background.

Renown Italian trade promotion opinion leaders, FareSistema columnists for example, fear the negative dispersion of the huge budget allocated by the EU central authorities for the wine industry (over € 500 million only for promotional measures). A good treasure that turns useless among thousands of local organisms and authorities without a central management and a unique strategic vision.

Quite a problem considering the unlimited potential of a globally venerated product, breathing a timeless ancient tradition.

Categories: Food and Beverage

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3 replies

  1. L’ha ribloggato su Valerio Sold Oute ha commentato:
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  1. Orizzonti d’Oriente per il vino italiano? | Valerio Sold Out

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