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China’s vintage tastes

Marketing more premium vintages to meet the demands of China’s expanding middle class could give Australian wine producers an edge over their competitors.

That’s the message NAB’s head of industry analysis Dean Pearson has for the wine industry according to a report in Rural Press.

Wine sales in China are expected to increase 50 per cent by 2016, with demand largely driven by the rapidly expanding middle class, according to NAB.

“While demand for this premium product is still in its infancy, it presents an opportunity for substantial growth in China moving forward,” Pearson says.

“Asia, and particularly China, is producing more wine domestically, with some analysts predicting its wine production could overtake Australia's next year,” he says.

“As China’s middle class continues to grow, so too should its demand for more premium products, including quality vintages that can’t be produced en masse locally.”

According to the NAB global wine consumption is forecast to increase by five per cent between 2012 and 2016.

By then, wine sales in China are expected to overtake France, which would make China the second biggest wine-consuming country in the world behind the US.

“The value of Australian wine exports to China was up 19 per cent in 2012 so if Australian producers can differentiate themselves in the market, they can go some way to staying ahead of international competitors,” Pearson adds.

Beyond exporting wine, the industry also has the opportunity to tap into a growing tourism market.

Through to the end of June 2013, Chinese visitor numbers to Australia increased 17 per cent on 2012 figures.

“We’re seeing a trend in Chinese tourists venturing beyond Australia’s big cities, which is encouraging news for regional tourism and the small businesses which drive it,” Pearson says.

“The wider interest in Australian wine is reflected in the growing number of visitors to wineries each year.

“Tourism could increasingly become a way for Australian wineries to supplement their businesses and capitalise on the growing presence of their wine in China.”



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