In 2016, China became the single biggest market for Australian wine.
According to data collected by Wine Australia, around $520 million worth of Australian wine was sold in China last year, representing a 40 per cent increase on the year before.
“The success story has been amazing,” says Wine Australia CEO, Andreas Clark.
“China has been our fastest growth story over the past five years, and it is our number one market.”
– Andreas Clark
Ten years ago, sales to China were worth just $20 million, now they are worth more than half a billion dollars.
Andreas says there are more than 1,200 Australian wine exporters to China, and the most prominent brands are Penfolds, owned by Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), and Jacob’s Creek, now part of the Pernod Ricard stable.
TWE’s Robert Foye claims the company he represents is “the biggest brand builder in the wine business in China”.
While the Chinese are taking up wine drinking at a rapid rate, wine consumption still only accounts for around four per cent of the total alcohol consumed, according to Andreas Clark.
Beer and a potent locally-made spirit called Baiju are the main drinks of choice.
It means there is great potential for growth in wine consumption, and much of the wine consumed will come from countries other than China.