Er leven een miljard Chinezen in China. Daar zijn de wijnmakers nu ook achter. En vooral die met die wijnplassen, zoals in Frankrijk en Australie.
Dus organiseren we een Expo en laten we de Chinezen kennis maken met onze wijnen en gaan we ze leren om wijn te drinken.
Kleine tegenvaller: 9 op de 10 Chinezen mixen hun wijn met 7up en proeven dan niets meer. Plan mislukt.
Toch wordt voorspelt dat de Chineze markt voor wijn de komende 10 jaar met 80% gaat stijgen naar zo'n 750 miljoen flessen. Dat is in liters per inwoner per jaar nog niets vergeleken met Europa, maar toch niet iets om niet serieus zaken mee te gaan doen. En dat deden ze dus…
Victor Dejesus, a Spanish winemaker, is eager to sell his wines in China, but he found he may have a problem.
"China is a very big market, of course, but they're less sophisticated," he said. "I was in Shanghai, and I had too many mixtures of wine with 7-Up there," he added, referring to the common Chinese practice of selling wine mixed with soda.
Dejesus was one of more than 500 winemakers from 28 nations at the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific wine convention, a yearly traveling convention organized by France's Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which kicked off in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Many at the annual three-day expo were looking for ways to capitalize on China's budding taste for quality foreign wines.
The convention organizers say China presents a great opportunity for foreign winemakers, especially as the country's standard of living rises. A Vinexpo study shows that China is now Asia's biggest consumer of wine, with 500 million bottles bought in 2004.
The study predicted China's wine consumption would grow 78 percent from 1999 to 2009 and that by 2009, the country would consume 766.26 million bottles.
"It's a market that's quite new," Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, chairwoman of Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, said. "It has great potential and will grow more."
Still, one obstacle for foreign winemakers may be the Chinese consumer's loyalty to domestic wines and spirits. Foreign wines accounted for just 5.3 percent of the total volume sold in 2004, Vinexpo said. Imported spirits made up 0.3 percent of Chinese consumption.
There's also the question of tailoring wines to local tastes in a country where chilling red wines or mixing them with soda is common.
"It's a mixed bag because, in the big cities, people really look for high quality wines, while in some other regions, tastes are far from mature," Andy Sze, a distributor for several Sonoma County wineries in California, said.
"They started mixing their wines with soda because the earlier imports were of low quality and too dry for the Chinese taste – they favor sweeter drinks," he said.
China may consume the highest volume of wine in Asia, but its market is less developed than Japan's, which had wine sales of $2.6 billion in 2004, Vinexpo said. In the same year, China recorded sales of $1.13 billion. Lower prices accounted for the smaller sales figures.
But Heriard Dubreuil of Vinexpo said the Chinese – like others across Asia – are learning to be more discerning about imported wines, especially those from France. She said standards are improving as Chinese winemakers have moved to match international tastes.
"You have seen how discerning they've been with food," she said. "There's no reason why they shouldn't be more discerning with wine."
Miranda Hayman, of Britain's Hayman Distillers, said the company plans to sell tequilas and vodkas flavored with chocolate or cherry in China to suit local tastes.
Hayman said that establishing her brand in China would be "a five- to 10-year project," but she added, "we want to get our foot in China now."
One Washington state winemaker, Jeff Gordon, agreed. "I just want to be part of it," he said. "The Chinese like wine more than they did five or 10 years ago. They've changed their view of wine and how to drink it."
The wine expo, which was started in 1981, is held in Bordeaux, France, every other year. Organizers say 6,000 buyers, distributors and sommeliers from Asia will uncork 60,000 bottles during the convention.
Lees ook:Wijnconsumptie in China stijgt met 70% per jaar
Lees ook:Your Wine App for Winetourism in France
Lees ook:Nieuw amerikaans marktonderzoek
Lees ook:De best verkopende wijnen in restaurants
Lees ook:Amerikanen graven kelders