Chinese oenotourism, a growing trend

Jun 27, 2016 No Comments by

Chinese people and wine


Chinese people have been for a long time Tea drinkers. It all started when Shennong known as the Ancient Father of Agriculture in China discovered the great taste of tea when a leaf from the tree he was sitting under fell into his cup of warm water. Tea has been used for its medicinal properties, for traditional rituals, to cook and now even to lose weight.


However, there is a new trend in China: Wine drinkers. Changyu, the first Chinese winery founded by Zhang Bishi, opened its doors in 1892 during the Qing dynasty, in Yantai, a small city located in the Shandong province close to Beijing which is today a famous wine land. Up until today, Changyu Winery still exists and is actually one of the biggest Chinese producers. The wine produced by Changyu is seen as high-quality wine and many important figures visited the winery such as François Hollande or Barack Obama. Then, the Beijing Winery was founded in 1910. This winery was operating on the Chinese Christians niche market.


In 2015, wine import volumes increased by over 45% in China compared to 2014, which means, 554 million liters of wine bottles being imported in the country. According to ISWR, China is the fifth biggest consumer of wine in the world. According to recent data, China has now surpassed the master and owns more vineyards than France which has a long history of drinking and producing wine. Today, China is the 8th largest wine producer in the world. Foreign investments positively affected the local Chinese market.



Chinese oenotourism



Chinese investments overseas


However, there are more and more Chinese people interested in drinking wine as well as more Chinese rich people. For example, Zhao Wei, a Chinese famous actress, decided to buy for about 5 million euros, more than 7ha of land in France previously owned by Château Monlot. She also decided to continue shopping by buying another winery : Château Plain-Point.


She is not the only one and a lot of celebrities and Chinese rich people are investing in French wineries.In April 2016, Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, one of the web Chinese giants bought 85ha in Bordeaux Château de Sours, which approximately produces 500,000 bottles of wine a year.


Chinese tourists and wine


Not only rich Chinese tourists like Jack Ma want to taste some wine. China has surpassed France as wine drinkers (in absolute numbers only not in percentage). Drinking wine in China is seen as an aristocrat practice and advertising managers know how to use this attribute during their promotion campaign. However, with the rise of the middle class and the importance of food healing properties in the Chinese medicine, wine is also seen as a healthy drink which promotes benefits such as a healthy heart and higher energy.


According to VinExpo (APAC wine event) data , about 9 out of 10 bottles drunk in China are red wines bottles and the most famous grape is called Cabernet Sauvignon which is apparently a crossed variety born in 17th in France between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon.


Some French vineyards even decided to post articles in Chinese on their website ( as you can see above) to attract more Chinese tourists.



Australia, the new eldorado for Chinese wine drinkers …


wine french chines


Did you know that Australia is the second wine importer in China after France? The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of the University of South Australia conducted a study to see if there is a positive correlation between a happy trip and imports of products to the country of origin. They found that “targeting Chinese visitors to Australia can enhance exports by converting tourists into long-term Australian wine fans and word-of-mouth ambassadors.”


According to TripAdvisor China, searches for Margaret River in Perth, Australia, a place known for its wine have been multiplied by over 5 times between 2014 and 2015.  Leo Lin, in charge of Trip Advisor China confessed during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that “There has been a rise of interest in discovering, drinking and producing wine in China in recent years so with Margaret River being the closest wine region to China, it is not surprising there is so much interest in Margaret River as a travel destination for the Chinese,”


A live example is Jinghong Zhang, who published several papers on tea drinking and later wine tasting. She went to Newcastle with 12 other Chinese tourists to taste some wine. The whole group preferred red wine over white wine and all bought a bottle of wine. As Zhang specified in her article, there were wine drinkers and tea drinkers in her group. She said that “For the tea drinkers, the wine tour was something out of the ordinary yet they could relate to it because it felt similar to tea-tasting events.” One of her friends also posted the wine adventure on WeChat, one of the most used social media in China, and received a good amount of comments.


About the author

Olivier VEROT, is a Marketing expert for the Chinese Market. He will speak about the Internet trends about wine and about the Marketing best practices.
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