Summergate joins importers turning to Chinese wine


Wine importer Summergate Fine Wines & Spirits has become the exclusive distributor of Kanaan Winery in China, adding to evidence that growing numbers of wealthy Chinese wine lovers are interested in domestically produced wines.

Kanaan Winery wines
Image © Summergate

It is the first time that Summergate has agreed to distributed a Chinese wine in its 16 year history - although Kanaan Winery, based in the Helan Mountain East appellation in Ningxia, is already distributed by Summergate’s retailer sister firm, Pudao Wines.

The move suggests China’s biggest wine importers believe there is untapped demand for premium, domestic wines among the growing mass of Chinese wine drinkers.

In China’s wine market, ‘around 70% wines are domestic wines’, said Edouard Duval, chief executive of East Meets West Fine Wines (EMW).

WANG Fang, owner of Kanaan Winery, said Summergate had a similar philosophy to that of her winery. Summergate’s general manager, Ian Ford, said Kanaan’s wines were of ‘excellent quality’.

Torres China already distributes Silver Heights, which is also from Helan Mountain East, and Grace Vineyard in Taigu, Shanxi Province. Another importer, The Wine Republic, has been selling wines of Helan Qingxue Vineyard, and EMW is the distributor of Legacy Peak Estate in Helan Mountain East and Chateau Nine Peaks in Laixi, Shandong Province.

Restaurants and hotels are the most popular destinations for premium Chinese wines. Campbell Thompson, CEO of The Wine Republic, said, ‘in the past few years, the wines of Helan Qingxue Vineyard have entered the first class restaurants and hotels in China’, including the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the Hakkasan Restaurant in Shanghai and the Temple Restaurant Beijing.

Ian Ford said it would also be important to expand Kanaan’s reach in wine retailers. Marcus Ford, general manager of Pudao Wines, said that ‘among the 12 Chinese wines we are selling at Pudao, Silver Heights and Kanaan Winery are the two best sellers.’

Greater interest from importers with wide distribution networks could help smaller scale wineries in China to expand beyond cellar door sales.

ZHANG Zhijie, owner of Yinchuan Aroma Votaty Culture Communication Company, said, ‘Among the 61 wineries in the Helan Mountain East appellation, those large estates with a long history, such as Chateau Changyu Moser XV, have their sound distribution network, but the new and small-scale wineries rarely have their own distributors. Therefore, wineries such as Silver Heights, Legacy Peak and Kanaan Winery are considered successful models.’

(Translated by Nina Fan Feng)

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