The Australian, the French and the German: Three case studies of selling wine in China

new roads to china article re mat ryan podium helene ponty claudia massueger cheers in wine business international

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.

You can get more details on all three cases, including strategies and lessons learned, by downloading this pdf. For more on the magazine, see here.

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