Shanghai Surprise

Neil Pendock June 4, 2012 2

Welcoming drinks at the Whispers Hyperspectral conference at Tongji University in Shanghai last night turned out to be Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2010 and Montes Malbec 2008. Chile is certainly making the running in China’s financial heartland and that Chile (and New Zealand) pay 20% less tax than SA on wine imports means Chinese scientists are unlikely to enjoy Hamilton-Russell or Bouchard-Finlayson anytime soon. Lucky SA is a member of BRICS! and exactly what are SA wine marketers doing about this crazy situation?


Hein Koegelenberg, whose Leopard’s Leap sells one in every two bottles of wine in the Middle Kingdom, plans to bring 800 of his 1 million person sales force out to SA next year to thank them for this achievement and to encourage them to do even better. If SA wine marketing ever gets into gear, Shanghai would be the obvious place to open an office.

It is BRAND CITY with 23 million citizens with plenty of cash to pamper themselves as they are limited to one child per couple. Dana Buys, from Vrede en Lust, has been visiting for over a decade. “I love the place and you won’t believe the changes in a decade.” It should be easy to attract SA marketers as on Sunday night we ate Sichuan on the fifth floor of a shopping centre devoted to food: deli’s on the ground floor, fast food above that and then multiple floors of restaurants. All that’s missing is The SA Wine Shop.


  1. Mr Chow June 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm -

    After last visit, Mrs Chow brought back Surprise – Shanghai Packet for Mr Chow…..

  2. Mike Ratcliffe June 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm -

    Thanks for the Chinese posts Neil – I am following in your footsteps.

    Arrived in Shanghai today from Guangzhou – It’s midnight in Shanghai as I read this post. Just finished hosting a wonderful Warwick and Vilafonte wine dinner at CUIVRE restaurant – recently rated the best restaurant in Shanghai for 2012 in the City Press Readers Awards. Three vintages of Vilafonte on the list plus three other SA wines on a list of wines totaling only 65. There are some pockets of success and the hotels and restaurants are very ‘adventurous’ in their outlook. If the wine is good, they will buy it.

    Ultimately China is the most relationship-centric market that I have ever experienced. If you don’t meet the decision-makers, they will never make a decision in your favour. Period.

    Next stop – flying West to Chengdu.

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