Too close for comfort? Great Wall maker COFCO takes over Chinese edition of Food & Wine

COFCO – owner of top-four Chinese winery Great Wall and a major player in boutique operation Chateau Junding – will take over the Chinese edition of Food & Wine, starting with the January edition. According to sources inside and outside Food & Wine, COFCO owns the magazine license for Food & Wine and had been leasing it to the Trends Group. A source at the magazine said the entire management team will shift under COFCO.

No doubt concerns will be raised in coming weeks and months as to what it means that one of the biggest wine-makers in China owns one of the most important sources of wine info. This extends to the blind tastings, an integral part of the monthly magazine, as COFCO is both a maker and importer of wine.

A final note: This seems part of a major shift in the wine marketing and distribution landscape in China. The players, and the stakes, are getting bigger as the local market grows, with COFCO competitors such as Changyu also importing wine and Suntory recently buying a majority share of prominent China-based wine distributor and importer ASC Fine Wines.

I will have more on this shortly…

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1 Comment

  1. Boyce: I think you accurately predicted this trend over a year ago.

    Major domestic wine players are clearly expanding their market presence while foreign wine importers are not seeing the returns they used to.

    For example: compare Summergate in 2006-7 to the Summergate of 2009-10. The foreign importers peaked a couple years ago and the market will be led by two players: major domestic alcohol conglomerates and major foreign alcohol conglomerates (i.e. Suntory, Pernod Ricard)