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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