Mainland China develops taste for higher-priced Burgundy

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There is growing interest in higher-priced Burgundy wines in mainland China, despite a fall in volume shipments, suggest fresh import figures.

Image: wine shop © BIVB / MUZARD J.P.

Figures from Burgundy wine trade council BIVB show that wine exports to China increased by 13.6% in value in the first four months of 2014 versus the same period of last year, to €4.99m (CNY42.2m).

In volume terms, exports dropped by 4.1% to 419,000 bottles. The disparity in these figures suggests that, while Burgundy has been affected by a wider slowdown in wine imports to China, importers are paying significantly more per bottle.

Several Chinese wine merchants have reported rising sales of Burgundy wines, indicating that Chinese consumers are broadening their interest in wine - even though Bordeaux still dominates the high-end of the market.

Aline Bao, vice president of an online wine retail platform yesmywine, told DecanterChina.com that the company’s Burgundy sales have grown every year since its launch in 2008. ‘In the first five months of 2014, we have already sold as much Burgundy wines as we did in the whole year of 2013,’ she said.

Summergate Fine Wines, one of the major wine importer in China, saw its sales of Premier Cru and Grand Cru Burgundies with retail price over CNY1,400 increased by 400% from 2009 to 2013. Fu Yi’an, managing director of Summergate, attributed the boost to the speedily expanding middle-class consumers.

Pu-Century, a Shanghai importer founded in 2012, doubled its sales of Burgundy wines in 2013, said Li Xiaowen, managing director of the company.

There is also a rising number of wine clubs specialising in Burgundy tastings in major cities, such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing.

(Translated by Nina Fan Feng)

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