Concha aims to sell a million cases in Asia19th December, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Chilean wine giant Concha y Toro has revealed ambitious plans to become a one million case wine brand in Asia.
Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to London, Concha y Toro’s corporate export director, Cristian Lopez said: “Our long-term goal is to sell one million cases a year of Casillero del Diablo in Asia – we’re currently on 60,000 cases so we’ve got a way to go.
“If you want to succeed in the Chinese market you have to take it seriously and be committed to it. You can’t do it half-heartedly.
“We’re working with Summergate in Asia and trying to find ways to build the Casillero brand out there as it’s the core of what we do, but, of course, we’re hoping to push our fine wines like Don Melchor and Almaviva out there too.
“Asia is our next big market to crack. It’s currently our fastest growing market. We recently opened a regional office in Singapore to get closer to the market and really understand it. We’ve got 20 people on the ground there.”
But while Asia is a key focus for Concha y Toro, the UK remains the company’s top priority in terms of export markets.
“Everyone is looking to Asia at the moment, but it’s a big mistake to abandon the UK – it’s still our most important export market. You’ve got to overcome the challenges rather than bail out,” Lopez insisted.
He also warned that Western brand names “mean nothing” in China, which can make it tricky for some brands to gain a foothold in the continent.
“Consumers don’t refer to Casillero del Diablo, but instead call it the ‘red devil’ or ‘red ghost’ wine – it’s much more based around symbols,” Lopez told db.
“The red in Casillero del Diablo’s packaging hasn’t done us any harm in Asia either as red is considered a lucky colour in China,” he added, revealing that Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) is essential to the brand’s marketing strategy.
And while Lopez is keen to push the Casillero brand in Asia, he is also working on building sales of Concha’s fine wines in China.
“Fine wine is a priority in China – we’ve done very well with our Marques de la Casa Concha brand out there and are looking to build the Don Melchor brand in China. We recently repositioned the price of Don Melchor across all our markets,” he said.
“So far, France has benefitted the most from the fine wine boom in China – China saved the French wine industry in many ways. One of the biggest problems we face is the fragmented nature of the market, which makes it very difficult to track where your wines end up. We’ve invested heavily in trying to combat this issue,” Lopez revealed.
As the market matures, Lopez believes gone are the days when foreign wine brands can overcharge for their fine wines in Asia.
“Chinese consumers are getting increasingly savvy and you can’t overprice your wines out there any more – they know when they are being cheated,” he warned.