Wine in China | Diversity grows in “tier 1” cities

By Jim Boyce | Wine diversity is spreading in China, especially in ‘tier 1’ cities like Beijing and Shanghai. And while the number of connoisseurs might pale compared to those buying mass market and status-oriented brands, they do represent a bright spot in a wine scene where both local production and imported wines have taken hits during the past year.

We see consumer interest in more regions and styles, more brands and stories. We see more rosé wine. More natural wine. More Chinese wine that makes people rethink their assumptions.

I wrote about this for Meininger’s Wine Business International, with the interviewees including Matt Bahen (De Bortoli), Charles Carrard (Boisset), Yiftach Bar (Diva China), Isabella Ko (The Merchants), Alex Chen (Alexander Wine), Oliver Zhou (KOL), and Claudia Masueger and David Schaumann (CHEERS). (Get the full pdf here. And get more info about WBI here.)

I included lots of detail in the piece, including on people helping to lead this diversification, such as Li Meiyu (Park Hyatt, Oyster Talks), Jean-Marc Nolant (Black Wine Guide), Wang Shenghan (Lady Penguin) and Alberto Pascual (Pasion Wine). For me, the big pictures is that all of this interest, in the face of a fall in imports and local production, gives the wine scene hope:

… any diversification feels like sunlight through the clouds of uncertainty. There was a time not long ago when people worried that wine in general might be a trend, that consumers might move on to the next big thing. The growing number of enthusiasts at least means the wine scene has put down real roots and can withstand a storm or two.

Read the full story here.

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