By Jim Boyce
One fun thing about living in Beijing is witnessing the ever-widening scope of wines available in the market. True, the “big six” — France, Australia, Spain, Chile, Italy and the United States — account for ~90 percent of bottled imports And sources like Germany, Argentina and New Zealand account for a good chunk of the rest. But we also have plenty of other interesting stuff trickling in — Tannat from Uruguay, Gruner Veltliner from Austria, Bordeaux blends from India, options from Brazil and Bulgaria and Greece and Israel and Georgia and Romania.
And today I saw that China is now the second-biggest importer of wines from Peru, with which it has a free-trade agreement. Before anyone gets too excited, the numbers are admittedly small:
The Peruvian Exporters’ Association (Adex) said Tuesday that 76.3 percent of wine exports were shipped to the United States and China between January and October 2012, when total shipments to 22 markets totaled US$563,000, up 5.1 percent from the same period of 2011.
The U.S. is the main destination with $314,000, which represents 55.7 percent of total Peruvian wine exports, despite registering a fall of 20.5 percent compared to the same period in 2011 ($395,000). China ranked second with purchases of $115,000 in the period, which accounts for 20.5 percent of total shipments and an increase of 49.5 percent compared to the acquisitions of 2011 ($77.000).
In terms of value, that is less than rmb1 million per year, money that wouldn’t go far in a typical Hong Kong fine wine auction. In terms of volume, a check of China Customs stats show that rmb17,000 bottles from Peru turned up in the fourth quarter of 2011 and nearly 19,000 bottles coming in the third quarter of this year.
Source: U.S. and China, main markets for Peruvian wines in 2012 by ANDINA