Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

China-wine-007

 

As he hands over the reins of the country’s top wine importer, Don St. Pierre says China is maturing and evolving

 

When Don St. Pierre Jr. announced in October that he had stepped aside as CEO of ASC Fine Wines, the company he cofounded with his father in 1996, it surprised many in the business. An American ex-pat, St. Pierre has been a trailblazer in building the fine wine trade in China. As one prominent Bordeaux négociant noted, “where ASC goes, we go.”

But in a lengthy interview with Wine Spectator, St. Pierre said the time had come for him to focus on long-term ideas and leave managing what has become a big business to an expert. ASC appointed John Watkins, an American executive who cut his teeth on Northwest Airlines’ expansion into China in the 1980s, as his successor.

A couple years ago, ASC began a big shift, moving beyond China’s saturated first-tier cities into second-tier cities, opening 26 offices and a distribution network to 150 cities. Staffing shot up from 400 to 1,200. “The challenges China presents moving forward are really unbelievable. We’re just beginning to see Chinese consumers develop their own tastes and interest in wine and see wine as part of their life as opposed to drinking wine because of a business occasion,” St. Pierre told Wine Spectator. “We’re always trying to stay ahead. Hiring John is about staying ahead.”

When St. Pierre and his father opened their doors in 1996, they represented just three brands—Beringer, Petaluma and Bollinger. To import their first container of wine, they formed a joint venture, but had a falling out that left them dry. “They actually hijacked our first container, so we didn’t even have wine for our first launch party,” said St. Pierre.

Today ASC has an annual turnover of $200 million, Suntory owns an 80 percent stake, and the company is poised for more expansion. The challenges ahead are both common to family-led companies and unique to China. “One challenge I’ve seen across four different industries in China is to… read on

The Chinese cheese and wine boom.

The Chinese cheese and wine boom.

 

Optimistic Cheese Producers See China As Golden Opportunity

 

Following the broader trends in luxury retail, the Chinese palate has increasingly become open to more Western flavors including French wine and spirits, and more recently, imported cheeses. After all, what pairs better with fragrant French wine than a wedge of pungent imported cheese? Not too long ago, such a pairing would have been unfamiliar to all but the wealthiest or most well-traveled Beijing or Shanghai resident. However, as imported wine demand in China has continued to rise — the country imported 200 million liters of wine in the first six months of 2012 – and the foreign cheese market grows more optimistic with every bite, the two industries may be facing two very different futures.

As China Daily reported this week, a growing appetite for… read on

The Château Bellefont-Belcier estate.

The Château Bellefont-Belcier estate.

 

Grand cru classe vineyard fetches up to $2.6 million per hectare of vines.

 

A Chinese industrialist has completed the landmark purchase of Château Bellefont-Belcier, a leading estate in France’s prestigious Saint-Émilion wine-making area, sources involved in the sale say.

The property is the first of its rank – grand cru classé (classified great growth) – to be acquired in what has been a wave of Chinese investment in the Bordeaux region.

Bellefont-Belcier, which had been on the market for a number of years, has 13 hectares of vines on a total estate of 20 hectares. A source said the sale price was between 1.5 million and two million euros ($1.94–$2.59 million) per hectare of vines.

The new Chinese owner is a 45-year-old industrialist with assets in the iron sector who has already diversified into the wine-importing business. He met the château’s employees on Friday and has since returned to China.

Chinese investors have acquired around 30 lower-ranked properties in Bordeaux (the larger region that includes Saint-Émilion) in the past two years. During 2012 China has also become the region’s biggest export market in terms of volume.

So far, Chinese investment has not been controversial in a region with a long tradition of foreign ownership of wine estates.

In contrast, the acquisition by a Chinese buyer of Château de Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy this year triggered a major row, with local winemakers and far-right politicians claiming the country’s heritage was being sold.
Read on …

 

The Hong Kong wine scene.

The Hong Kong wine scene.

 

There is a burgeoning wine industry in Hong Kong where consumer demand is rising and tastes are changing, while high profile events and bloggers spread the emerging trends, finds Alasdair Nichol

 

THE WINE industry in Hong Kong has come a long way since the dropping of import duties in 2008 and wine drinkers in the city are becoming more adventurous with the expanded wealth of wine options on offer.

The upsurge in wine pairing with Chinese food has opened new doors to experiences that local drinkers would not have otherwise explored.

Also, the traditional wines usually consumed are being caught up by demand for new and more interesting varieties from differing wine producing countries around the world.

Take a peek at the top 10 trends currently making waves in the Hong Kong market.