“China’s wine market can be equally appealing and puzzling for producers that have yet to establish a foothold. For many, it seems like the key step is to either jump in with a major established importers such as ASC, Torres or Summergate, even though these companies have few open slots in their portfolios, or to dip a toe into the sea of smaller operations, even though this carries the risk of an inexperienced partner and a “one container and done” deal. Given a blend of limited options, an increasingly competitive market due to a flood of brands and rising consumer savvy, and a desire to control one’s destiny, and it is no surprise that some producers are seeking alternative ways to market.”
That’s the opening for a recent article I wrote for trade magazine Wine Business International. In it, I looked at three people:
- Mat Ryan of Podium, who has helped a group of Australian wineries open their own company in China to handle distribution and, by eliminating the middle man, lower product prices.
- Helene Ponty of Le Ponty, who moved to China to handle importing of her father’s Bordeaux wine and thus have better brand control.
- Claudia Massueger of Cheers, a wine bar chain expanding throughout Beijing and serving as an outlet for wines a sibling company is importing.