RIOJA IS ON THE ROAD IN CHINA THIS WEEK
By David Ma
The Rioja wine region of Spain is on the road in China. After holding its Grand Tasting in Beijing on Monday, the 75 wineries taking part will travel to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Rioja wines are gaining popularity among Chinese consumers. Export to China increased by 17.31% in 2017 to 4.3 million liters, this rate of growth is expected to sustain in 2018.
Hundreds of trade professionals and connoissuers turned up in the Beijing Grand Tasting. Trade representative of Piérola Group, Daniel Ramírez, said he was surprised to see that the Chinese visitors “come to taste and taste, and you see them spitting (wine). They have not come here to get drunk.”
Director-general of Consejo Regulador of Rioja, José Luis Lapuente, agreed that the Chinese wine consumers have become more discerning and “appreciate more and more the product itself, its quality level and want to know more.”
“Rioja wine had a small presence ten years ago, but now China imports about four million liters annually, and the progression in figures suggests that it will continue to increase its share, despite the competition from Chilean, Australian and French wines,” Lapuente added.
Asked if he is worried that Chinese producers will copy the style of Rioja wine, he said: “You can copy the techniques, but that elegance, that finesse, that balance achieved by the Tempranillo grape in the valley of the Ebro is very difficult to replicate.”
A total of 75 Rioja wineries participated in the tasting, which together sell to China 4% of the total export of Rioja wines.
Having seen great potential of growth in China, the Consejo Regulador of Rioja has increased its China promotional budget this year to rank third among all markets just after Spain and USA.
The Chinese market, along with Switzerland, are the only two to have received higher promotion budgets because of strong sales performances over the past year.
(The writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)
TRENDING│ FOCUS│ SERVICES│ ABOUT US│ CONTACT