Give people more chances to taste wine, says Li Demei


Chinese consumers are turned off by too much information on a winery’s history or winemaking techniques and want more opportunities to taste, according to expert professor Li Demei.

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Speaking at a recent Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum on wine regulation held in Beijing, Li Demei said it was important to remember the value of tasting. He encouraged the wine trade to organise more events.

‘The Chinese consumers, as entry-level consumers, do not have the patience to listen to long introductions of winery history and too many technical details,’ Li told, following his keynote speech.

The recent government austerity measures in China have been blamed for the current difficult situation in the Chinese wine market. Imports of wines have fallen in the past 18 months.

However, professor Li pointed out that many consumers are still willing to buy wine. But, they do not know what to buy.

‘To promote wines to this group of people, we should find a quicker way for them to actually taste the wines.’

‘The consumers will feel lost and scared with too much detail [about] winemaking techniques, and even have no confidence in drinking wine,’ he added.

Helen Ponty of Bordeaux family-owned winery Vignobles Ponty agreed with Professor Li. ‘My main challenge when we do an event [in China] is to gauge the wine knowledge of the crowd,’ she said. ‘Most of the times we are talking to people who are looking for more “simple” information, and I always try to stay away from too much technicalities.’

However, Ponty also added that from her experience of past tasting events in China, she found that Chinese customers were interested in her family story.

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