Two Chinese Baijiu (white spirit) producers and one wine distributor have jointly bought the whole share of a wine processing and producing plant in South Australia.
The two Chinese Baijiu producers, Shandong-based Hua Guan group and Sichuan-based Chuan Chi group, along with Chinese wine distributor Qingdao Chesley, bought the 100% share of Belvidere Winery at Langhorne Creek last week. Witnessed by Martin Haese, mayor of Adelaide City Council, the deal was sealed for an undisclosed amount, according to Chinese local media Wine Business Observation.
The move came after Chinese imports of bottled Australian wines increased by 51% in volume during the first three months of 2016. Many believe that the Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia signed last year had a positive effect.
The Belvidere Winery first sold its ‘Mosaic’ brand to the Qingdao-based Chesley group in 2013. The agreement was signed during an official visit of the Qinedao commercial delegation to Adelaide, during which a memorandum was signed between the Shandong Province and South Australia to form an ‘economical partnership’, according to the Qingdao government.
Hua Guan and Chuan Chi are not the first Chinese Baijiu producers to head into the imported wine business. Renowned Baijiu brand Maotai bought Chateau Loudenne in Saint-Yzans-de-Medoc in 2013. Wuliangye, on the other hand, also started selling imported wines in 2015.
The Belvidere Winery process grapes from across South Australia including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. It has a processing capacity of up to 18,000t and onsite storage facility of 20 million litres, according to the winery.
Belvidere Winery is not immediately available for comment.
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