China’s taste for Australian wine continues to grow

Mainland China is now the biggest market for Australian wine by value, growing from $27 million to $474 million in just a decade, according to a 2016 report from Wine Australia. This continues to provide significant opportunities for the Australian wine industry, and there is the potential to further increase jobs and business development as awareness spreads in this thriving market.

The market for Australian wine in China is growing by 40 per cent every year.

Leveraging the value of the Chinese market

There has been a phenomenal increase in Australia's wine exports to China thanks to the free trade agreement, and this growth shows no signs of slowing. Neil McGuigan, chief winemaker at McGuigan Wine, reveals that by collaborating with key players in China, Australian wine businesses can continue to maximise on export value.

"Australian wine is growing 40 per cent per annum in China. China is the largest importer of Australian wine. It just overtook the UK. That's an interesting change to the dynamics," he told The Drinks Business.

"It gives us a great opportunity for us to capitalise on what we think is going to be the biggest wine market in the world in the long term," said McGuigan. "There's 1.4 billion Chinese. They drink less than a litre per head. They are becoming more westernised, they love red wine and they love Australian red wine because its all about fruit and approachability. That's what are are looking at building on."

Australian red wine varieties provide a good introduction to the beverage.Australian red wine varieties provide a good introduction to the beverage.

Making Australian wine more accessible to Chinese drinkers

Approachability is one of the areas where Australian wine really shines, with diverse options providing a more accessible introduction than some of the intense wines of French competitors.

"We can make very approachable red wines and make it work for [new wine drinkers] as a bridge between many alcoholic beverages into wine. That isn't to say that they don't want to buy expensive wines from us as well," said Mr McGuigan.

With this aim of tapping into new segments of the Chinese market, events such as the recent China Trade Group Visit is helping to educate influential Chinese wine professionals on Australian wine and bring home a positive message about what the industry has to offer.

"All of our guests were impressed with the high quality, diversity and terroir of Australian wine, and I'm sure they will deliver the Australian fine wine message to the China market after they return," explained the Wine Australia Head of Market for China, Willa Yang.

As more and more Chinese people discover the unique qualities of Australia wine, the industry will undoubtedly reap the benefits of ongoing success and boost its production and employment to match.

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