Wine sales growth: French fever in Shanghai

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By Chantal Chi

A few weeks ago, just before the snow came, I went to a wine shop opening in Shanghai called French Touch. Despite the unusually cold weather, the shop was full of guests, including wine professionals, which just goes to show that with wine, China is hot.

This is shown by recent China Customs statistics about imported bottled wines. More than 15.5 million liters of French wine was imported in 2007, more than double the amount in 2006, which already was double the amount in 2005. If wine is hot, the temperature is rising fast when it comes to French wine. Australian, Italian and Spanish wines saw growth, with Italian wines up 177 percent. Bravo!

France continues to lead the market, both by volume and by value. Unbelievably, it not only remains in front, but won back 7 percent of market value (this success seems to be due both to volume and Grand Cru sales). It’s easy to understand why, since Chinese still love giving French wine as gifts that brings face and prestige.

As this “social code” of giving wine as gifts increasingly turns into drinking wine as part of a lifestyle, we can expect to see even more growth in the market.

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