After years of decline since President Xi's anti-graft campaign, China's wine consumption is firmly in recovery. Data released by China's Ministry of Commerce shows that wine sales increased 33.5% in volume and 3.3% in value in the first seven months of this year.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Lu Zhengmin, deputy inspection director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, as saying that "China's wine industry is in good shape” and "consumption is growing rapidly”.
However, Lu added that the recovery in consumption has not been translated in the recovery of domestic wine production. China's wine producing sector is still facing many problems.
"Lacking well recognised and sought-after brands, our domestic producers are not competitive enough. They are very squeezed by imported wines and failed to benefit from the recovery in wine consumption," Lu was quoted as saying.
Despite that wine consumption is on the up, China's wine production is still in decline, a trend that started in 2014.
Statistics of the country's larger-scale wine producers show that a total of 3.96 million hectolitres was produced in the first half of this year, down 1.7% year-on-year.
According to China's major e-commerce websites, among the top 20 best selling wines in the first quarter of this year, 17 are imported wines, only three are domestically produced.
Lu attributed the weakness of China's wine producing sector to various factors. "Our industry standards, rules and regulations still have a lot of room to improve. Our products are not well recognised and our brands are not strong enough," Lu said.
In order to compete with other wine producing countries, Lu said Chinese producers have to improve their vineyard practices, winemaking, bottling, packaging, sales and other aspects of their businesses.
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)