Chinese show signs of branching out

Chinese buyers and wine drinkers are beginning to show signs that they are branching out of the first growth bracket and exploring other levels in the Bordeaux classification, according to Bordeaux Index sales director Sam Gleave.

china.jpgLong famed for their devotion to Lafite and other first growths, Asian buyers are now “branching out into super seconds”, Gleave told the drinks business.

“Our sales of Lafite have fallen away slightly to just a few a week,” he continued. “There’s been no fall in the price and Mouton has taken up some of the slack, the 2005 in particular.”

He spoke of how he had recently completed a sale of Ducru-Beaucaillou 2003 and that the likes of Pichon-Baron, Pichon-Lalande, Montrose and Léovilles Barton and Las Cases were attracting interest.

Gleave believes that those new wine drinkers entering the market still use Lafite as their benchmark; however, those that have been collecting for a few years now are becoming ever more interested with what else is on offer.

He said that his Asian buyers found the 1855 classification levels “fascinating” and even if they do still believe that it is a set standard for quality, they are more than happy to explore lower tiers.

As a result, Gleave stated, many drinkers are finding they are enjoying wines from second and third growths and that they do not have to spend enormous amounts of money to do so.

It helps that quality has risen over the years and Gleave believes the super seconds are now producing wines that are the equivalent of the first growths 15 years ago. The Asian market will not be slow to realise this.

“This market will become sophisticated very quickly,” said Gleave. “Do not underestimate it or the people in it.”

Rupert Millar, 02.06.2011

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