Vinexpo Asia-Pacific: China’s wine market flux set to dominate debates

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Major shifts in Mainland China's wine market are likely to dominate discussions at next week's Vinexpo Asia-Pacific fair in Hong Kong, with thousands of winemakers, critics and merchants scheduled to attend.

Vinexpo's organising council is anticipating at least 18,000 visitors to the trade fair, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday. It has also expanded exhibitor stand space by 50% versus the previous show, in 2012.

These figures at least suggest the international wine world remains highly engaged with Southeast Asia.

This is despite evidence that wine warehouses are overstocked in arguably the key regional market, Mainland China, where government austerity measures have repeatedly been blamed for curbing consumer demand for fine wine over the past 18 months.

As several recent news and comment articles on DecanterChina.com have shown, Mainland China's wine sector is in a transition phase.

Those at the higher end of the market are still dealing with the fall in demand for top Bordeaux wines since the buzz around the 2010 vintage.

There are reports of consolidation among wine importers in China and of diminishing sales to government officials, who have seen their entertainment budgets cut.

Concurrently, Chinese merchants and retailers talk of an emerging mainstream wine sector, led by China's middle class seeking out more affordable wines; think Cru Bourgeois rather than first growths.

China's fledgling domestic wine sector is also in a state of flux.

Several producers have found it tough to turn a profit in the past year and a number of high-profile commentators, including DecanterChina columnist Li Demei, have argued that Chinese producers must work harder to produce quality brands at reasonable prices.

All of these topics are set to come to the fore at next week's Vinexpo. Stay tuned to DecanterChina.com for the latest China-specific news.

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