China calling

Neil Pendock June 7, 2012 4

Ten reasons SA wine should take China seriously:

1. Tomatoes are regarded as fruit in China and are served as dessert along with apples, watermelon and giant sweet lemons. So all those tomato leaf characters of Stellenbosch Cabernets are positive features.
2. If it is not already, China is the largest wine consumer in the world, making it an obvious port of call for exporters.

3. Young China and the future wine cohort are online. Above are some passengers on the Shanghai subway at 10pm last night, each with an iPhone exposed. Technology is the way to sell SA wine in China and in this department, SA is prodigiously endowed with such techies as Dana Buys (Vrede en Lust) in the vanguard.
4. South Africa is a popular destination for Chinese tourists and Africa is a favoured investment destination.
5. Perlemoen is one of the pearls of Chinese cuisine and may be superbly matched with Pinotage.
6. Chinese drinkers are not alcohol averse.
7. China includes many label drinkers and brands such as La Motte, Le Bonheur and Plaisir de Merle may be fortuitously confused as being French and so possessed of mega gravitas by default.
8. The one child per family policy ensures that wine drinkers have substantial disposable income and wine is definitely an aspirational drink.
9. Johann Rupert’s Richemont group is a serious player in the Chinese luxury goods market.
10. China is the heavyweight in BRICS, an exclusive economic club to which SA was recently admitted.

4 Comments »

  1. Pratish Mistry June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am -

    Interesting points Neil – I’ve always associated the popularity of wines as being strongest in the countries that produce them.

    I suppose the sheer population in China makes it a sizeable market, even if only a relatively small percentage actually wind up acquiring the taste for it!

  2. Craig June 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm -

    Neil, I’m curious about your third point on the list – about technology. Are you suggesting that online wine sales are already substantial in China?

  3. Neil Pendock June 9, 2012 at 9:59 am -

    Hi Craig

    No. Just that SA, a late starter in the China game and seriously let down by WOSA, the generic marketing body focused on England, might make some headway via the Internet. After all, Chinese people are the most frequent visitors to Decanter’s website.

  4. Maksuda mithu June 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm -

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