Chinese e-retailer Wangjiu is to start producing its own wine in the country, in an effort to expand its business beyond high-end imports.
Founded in 2011 by the well-known mobile media and technology company Leshi, Wangjiu.com was established to sell mainly high-end imported wines.
This month, the retailer announced that it has planted more than 30,000 vines, constituting 67 hectares of vineyards, in Yaodu district in Linfen, Shanxi province.
The moves comes as government austerity policies continue to hit sales of premium imported wines in China. Li Rui, CEO of Wangjiu.com, believes that greater control of wine supply will help the group better compete against other domestic and overseas retailers.
‘At the beginning we position ourselves as a high-end imported wine online sales platform, [but] now we are turning our e-commerce channels into a terminal for our various businesses,’ Li told DecanterChina.com. He said the company aims to cover the entire production process from planting to distribution.
He added that, thanks to support from the Leshi group, the Linfen vineyard project ‘has unique advantages’ over other domestic producers in terms of financial support and distribution channels. As previously reported on DecanterChina.com, some areas of the Chinese wine industry have struggled to generate profit in the past year.
‘Top producers such as Lafite and Moet-Hennessy are planting vines in China, which suggests that you can harvest good-quality grapes in China,’ Li said. The company is drawing on experience of running ‘overseas winery projects’ in France, he added.
Shanxi Province is already home to a few boutique wineries, including Grace Vineyard. DecanterChina.com understands that Wangjiu’s Linfen vineyards will start producing wines in three years, and the market will see the wines in seven years.
The group imported its vines from overseas, and varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Li expects the style of wines produced from the Linfen site to be ‘easy-to-drink with varietal features’.
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