S. AFRICAN PRODUCERS MAKE WINES TO SUIT CHINESE TASTES, EXPORTS TO CHINA DOUBLED IN 2 YEARS
By Tony Zhu
Source: Wines of South Africa
South African wine producers are making wines specifically for the Chinese palate after having seen their wine exports to China more than doubled in the past two years.
The rapid growth was made possible by Australia’s loss of some 97 per cent of its imported wines market share in China due to the 218 percent anti-dumping tariffs slapped by the Chinese authorities on Australian wines.
Marcus Ford, Shanghai-based Asia market manager for Wines of South Africa, said the momentum of South Africa’s wine exports to China still looks strong after having doubled in the past two years to reach ZAR458million (USD31m) .
Some South African wine producers are making blends specifically to suit Chinese palate in an attempt to further boost exports to China.
Take Matthew Karan, owner of South Africa’s leading beef exporter Karan Beef, who is also exporting wines through his Karan's AM Vineyards.
Karan’s wineries is one of the South African producers specifically making a blend to suit the Chinese taste.
"We go through a rigorous to and fro with China to make sure our product is for their taste," Karan told local media.
He said Chinese consumers prefer red wines because red is a lucky colour in Chinese culture and they like red wines which are low in tannins.
Another producer Swartland Winery is also making wines to suit Chinese palate. General Manager Morné Le Roux said Chinese consumers prefer dark red wines like Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
He also said packaging is important when exporting to China. His Chinese clients prefer corks not screw caps, labels should be red, black, gold or silver in colour but not green.
However, Wines of South Africa’s Ford said as Chinese consumers mature, their preferences are starting to change.
He said consumers in the north of China, who have a more robust appetite for strong alcohol, still prefer full-bodied rich red wines, but consumers in the south are more open to lighter styles and white wines.
Some of the younger consumers have even developed a penchant for light-bodied white wines and dry sparkling wines, he added.
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