Chile’s Vina Indomita exported at least 400% more wine to China one year after being acquired by China’s Changyu Pioneers Wine Company (Changyu), according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
Changyu is China’s biggest wine producer, it acquired 85% of Bethwines’ stake last July form Chile’s Bethia Group for USD5 million. The acquisition included Bethwines’ holdings in Vina Indomita, Porta y Agustinos and Santa Alicia.
In an interview with La Tercera, general manager of Bethwines Wilfred Leigh said: "the acquisition has been positive, even above expectations."
"We have grown 400% in sales in China, in one year. We used to sell 20 thousand boxes and until now this year we are in 80 thousand boxes, four times more. My hope is to finish this year selling over 100 thousand boxes, "he said.
Leigh said China had always been a strategic market for Bethwines, but they did not know how to make inroads into this complex market.
He added that Changyu had opened the doors of China to Bethwines, and the work they were doing had been to develop special strategies for marketing their wines, even specific to provincial level.
With the view of brand building and targeting China’s premium wine market, Bethwines has so far only exported Vina Indomita to China and the result is very encouraging.
One year on since the acquisition, the expected cultural clash did not happen, Changyu has applied a hands-off approach in running Bethwines.
Leigh said: “Changyu has not posted anyone to Chile, there are management meetings via Skype every month and director level meetings every three months.”
Bethwines has vineyards in Casablanca, Maipo and Biobío. Given that demands from China and Asia are high, the company is planning to expand its production. “Expansion in Casablanca and Maipo is an option, we're considering rather big scale expansion," said Leigh.
Leigh added that the team from Chile had travelled to China to get to know the market and received ideas to develop strategic products to target different sections of the market.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)