CHIRPSES

THE RISE AND RISE OF CHINA’S WINE INDUSTRY

As China rises to be a superpower in the wine world what does this mean for the consumer as well as the wine industry as a whole. Will be soon be soaked in an wine related apocalypse? Or will we be basking in a fountain of great value wine?

There has been lots of fuss made about the rise of China in the international wine world. It appears there is a bit of Chinophobia (not fear of snow, but a fear of Chinese advancement), in the wine industry at the moment and people would have you believe we are soon heading for a wine soaked apocalypse. So should wine producers be worried? And are we soon going to see cheap Chinese wine flooding our shops like cheap plastic crap in the 90’s? More importantly how is this going to affect the consumer?

So why are some countries making such a stink about China’s rise to wine glory? Surely we should embrace a new style of wine? There is no doubt that China has the potential and the size to produce a vast amount of good quality wine. However herein lies the problem: people assume that China are not going to produce great quality wines, but rather are going to flood the market with cheap crap (watch your backs Blossom Hill). However in my opinion the reality is far from this; the more likely situation is that China is soon going to be producing some of the world’s great quality wines as well as cheap plonk, possibly in the future even replacing Australia’s standing as the jack of all trades wine producing country. I would say as China’s population grows wealthier and therefore are more able to afford better quality wines that there will be a craving for decent quality domestic wine production on a large scale. This is undoubtedly what some wine makers are afraid of – the fact that their pockets may be hit by China’s emergence as a wine superpower. All this spells great news for the consumer as more competition, generally, will bring lower prices whether you personally want to buy Chinese wine or not.

What does concern some people is the growing number of fake wine being sold in China; this is not just small business as some estimates say that millions of bottles of fake wine could have been made over the past few years in China. It has been reported that some of these wines don’t even contain fermented grapes — just chemicals, sugar, colouring and flavouring. This is worrying for the international wine trade as well as the Chinese domestic market as fakes have got so prevalent that even the most expensive wines in the world are subjected to large scale replication. The trade in empty bottles of famous Bordeaux wine is growing as people buy empty bottles of these wines for hundreds of dollars, fill them up with cheap wine, and sell them as the original product.

What does concern some people is the growing number of fake wine being sold in China; this is not just small business as some estimates say that millions of bottles of fake wine could have been made over the past few years in China. It has been reported that some of these wines don’t even contain fermented grapes — just chemicals, sugar, colouring and flavouring. This is worrying for the international wine trade as well as the Chinese domestic market as fakes have got so prevalent that even the most expensive wines in the world are subjected to large scale replication. The trade in empty bottles of famous Bordeaux wine is growing as people buy empty bottles of these wines for hundreds of dollars, fill them up with cheap wine, and sell them as the original product.

Unless there is a rapid increase in quality control in China I wouldn’t expect to see the wine shelves in your local Tesco bursting with Chinese wine yet. Over the next 10 years or so there may be a noticeable change in our wine shops across the country. Watch this space.

Phil is the wine Guru at SloshBox wine you can check out more of his articles and buy great wine at www.SloshBoxWine.co.uk

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