The East is white| Rethinking the ‘Chinese love red wine’ meme

By Jim Boyce | It’s funny when industry observers say Chinese consumers prefer red wines to white wines, and claim, as evidence red is associated with luck and white is associated with death. Really? Because China’s national spirit, and best-selling booze, is baijiu, which translates to ‘white spirit‘. And if red wine is so lucky, why did it take the Chinese 4,980 years of their 5,000-year history to start buying it. And, well let’s just stop there.

Red wines do dominate the market. They rose to prominence due to their links with status (Grand Cru!) and health (French Paradox!). And producers, importers and distributors now maintain that situation despite evidence many consumers like white wines. If your stock is 90 percent red wine, of course your white wine sales will be low.

This issue matters because consumers increasingly buy wine based on taste.

I wrote about white wine’s prospects in the latest issue of Wine Business International, quoting people like David Henderson, Damien Shee, Ma Huiqin, Chris Beros, Helene Ponty, Wang Fang, Craig Grafton and Julien Boulard. Get the pdf of the article — posted with permission — at this link.

white wine in china by jim boyce wine business international

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