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China’s 10 best selling wines online

For those doubting the power of Bordeaux in the Chinese market, db counts down the top 10 best-selling wines on Asian-based wine website Wangjiu.

As previously reported by the drinks business, the Chinese online retail market is set to surge as China’s consumers spend more time online, and leading the emerging market is Wangjiu Online.

With a strong focus on premium labels, Wangjiu was established in 2012 and has spent over £10 million on procurement and warehousing as well as its online wine retailing platform.

While it is facing keen competition from other online retailers such as Jiuxian and Jiumei (, Wangjiu has differentiated itself as a retailer of premium wines, while providing a bespoke “wine-customisation” service that it is currently providing to banks, media corporations, and private clients.

This service allows clients to specify a preferred wine style, and Wangjiu will source a wine to fit the specification.

In a campaign that is the first of its kind in China, Wangjiu released a wine on 17 May this year that was customised according to the popular polls and requests from over 200,000 consumers from its database.

Château de Birot’s Coup de Coeur 2008

The wine was created as the result of a collaborative research between Wangjiu Online and La Revue du Vin de France China to find out what wine would be most suitable for the Chinese palate.

Consumers and wine critics in China went through a poll where they expressed their favourite styles of wine, the price they were most willing to pay for a bottle of wine, and other factors such as the weight of the bottle, the closure used, and even the wine label design.

Based on the results of the poll, Wangjiu sampled wines from producers from over 50 countries before picking a wine produced by Château de Birot from the 2008 vintage, which the website named “Coup de Coeur”.

The wine was released at ¥198 (£21), and all 12,000 bottles were sold out within a month from the release date.

Over the following pages are the top 10 most popular wines retailing on Wangjiu’s website, including some rather revealing customer reviews outlining Chinese drinkers views on organics, tannins and the Italian wine style:

10. Château Jordi 2008

Located in the small village of Moulis-en-Medoc of Bordeaux, the estate of Chateau Jordi spans 7 hectares.
The vineyards of Chateau Jordi are made up of 73% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot.
Chateau Jordi keeps its annual production under 35,000 bottles, stating that it allows them to maintain a high level of quality for their wine.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥239.00 (£25)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“Generous, intense fruit aromas, silky fine tannins, and a firm structure.”
“The pricing is rather reasonable, tannins are silky, a wine that is definitely worth trying.”
“The black background and gold graphics makes the wine label classy; the wine itself has intense fruit aromas.”

9. Château Soutard 1986

Château Soutard has a history which stretches back to 1699, but the modern Soutard is renowned for its new, state-of-the-art winery.
While many English-speaking consumers describe notes of truffle, raspberry and licorice in the 1986 Chateau Soutard, Chinese reviewers on Wangjiu mentioned none of these characters.
The only single aroma that was mentioned (by several reviewers) was one familiar to the Chinese palate, the Ume plum.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥675.00 (£72)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“The aroma is not pronounced initially, opening up only after 40 minutes of aeration- What follows are notes of milk chocolate, florals, and caramel. The finish is long, with lingering notes of Ume plum.”
“Subtle hints of fruit aromas, reminds me of Ume plum”
“Perhaps ladies would prefer this wine style!”

8. Château La Freynelle 2009

Chateau La Freynelle is also from the Entre-deux-Mers sub-region of Bordeaux, located in the village of Daignac.
The wines of this sub-region are known for being approachable when young, with attractive fruity aromas, and are typically soft in tannins due to the large percentage of Merlot used in its blend.
Several consumers considered this wine to be “feminine” in style and suitable for ladies.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥199.00 (£21)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“I would recommend this to those who drink wines often, yet who do not wish to spend too much. This particular wine is both affordable and pleasant.”
“A feminine style, not bad on the palate”
“This wine would suit ladies particularly well – it has intoxicating aromas of red fruits.”

7. Château Marjosse 2010

Chateau Marjosse is located in Tizac-et-Curton of the Entre-deux-mers region, with Merlot being the predominant variety in its blend (75%).
Out of its 150,000 bottles of red wine annual production, 80% are exported.
As with the other wines in the Top 10 list, value-for-money and the aesthetics of the wine label play a big part in its online sales success.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥199.00, (£21)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“Supple tannins, good balance, and with an alluring nose”
“Great as a gift for the New Year, and good value for money”
“Exquisite packaging, perfect gift for a friend”

6. Cantore Di Castelforte Primitivo del Salento IGT 2010

Primitivo is a variety characterised by its high sugar levels and, consequently, high alcohol levels and this was a wine that was rather polarising among Wangjiu users.
While many consumers enjoyed the intense aromas of ripe fruits, others found it “too heavy” due to its alcohol level.
In spite of the divided views on the wine itself, most consumers still gave the wine a positive rating as they found the wine label “classy” and appropriate as a gift.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥109.00 (£11)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“Italian wines are honestly too heavy, and some are simply unbearable. Perhaps it takes time to get used to them.”
“Rich and luscious with gentle tannins. The design of the bottle goes very well with the design of the wine label. Excellent.”
“The black bottle makes it very cool–what a dignified gift for a friend.”

5. L’heritage de la Tour Carnet 2010

L’heritage de la Tour Carnet is the second label of La Tour Carnet from the Médoc in Bordeaux.
The most commonly cited praise for this wine is balanced structure – the tannins are described as smooth and the acidity is not too high.
It is interesting to note that the Chinese consumers on Wangjiu mostly comment on the structure of the wine rather than on the different aromas that can be found.
Where aromas are mentioned, they are referred to simply in generic categories such as “red fruits” rather than a detailed listing of “raspberry, cherry, and so on”. Also, the term “floral” is used rather than “honeysuckle, violet, etc.”

Price on Wangjiu: ¥399.00 (£42)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“Intense on the palate, balanced, with a long finish.”
“Generously fruity aromas, smooth and round on the palate with a good, strong structure.”
“This wine is suitable for gatherings as it is affordable without appearing ‘cheap’, smooth and refreshing, and suitable for men and women. Great value.”

4. Casa Vinicola Morando Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2011

The fourth best-selling wine on, the Morando Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is praised for its moderate acidity levels and its earthy, aromatic notes.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥365.00, (£39)

Wangjiu customer reviews:

“A full-bodied, fresh, and floral style. Dry with firm tannins.”

“Fresh on the palate with fruity aromas. Acidity is not too high considering it is an Italian wine, and makes for a pleasant food wine.”
“Good value for money with just the right amount of acidity.”

3. Château de la Grange 2009

Not to be confused with Château Lagrange of of Saint Julien, Château de la Grange is from the Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux AOC, and has a vineyard area of 12 hectares.

It is made up of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and while this gives it a full body and soft tannins, it is the wine label that really draws consumers’ attention – more than 25% of reviewers remarked positively about the uniqueness of the wine’s appearance.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥525.00 (£56)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“A Classic Bordeaux with an interesting and creative wine label that’s much more modern in comparison with other Bordeaux wines.”
“The wine label design is very compatible with the wine bottle, tannins are gentle, and the aromas are pure and defined. The traditional wine-making methods behind this wine gives it even more charm. Excellent.”
“Smooth on the palate with fruity aromas. A unique wine label, too.”

2. Château Auguste Merlot 2010

Located in the south of Saint-Émilion, Château Auguste is an organic wine producer with an entirely new cellar and state-of-the-art temperature controlled fermentation vessels.

The winery has also adopted a system of micro-oxygenation to achieve softer and rounder tannins in its wines.

And their efforts have paid off, as most reviewiers on Wangjiu sang praises about the soft, silky tannins of the Château Auguste Merlot.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥368.00 (£39)

Wangjiu customer reviews:
“Reliable packaging, subtle vanilla and spice aromas, good value for money. Strongly recommended.”
“I’ve adopted the new trend of 2013 to gift healthy, natural wines instead – I hope my family will like it.”
“There are so many people drinking this wine, it seems like it’s well-suited to our Chinese palate.”

1. Morando Moscato Spumante NV

Perhaps to the surprise of most people, this sweet, sparkling Italian tops the list of Wangjiu’s sales with more than 5,000 bottles sold in July alone.

With 6% alcohol by volume, this wine was cited by many consumers to be a crowd-pleaser and a refreshing aperitif to cool down with in the Chinese summer.

In addition, the popularity of the Moscato Spumante also serves to debunk the misconception that Chinese drinkers only spend money on wines that are red, premium, and from Bordeaux.

Price on Wangjiu: ¥120.00 (£12)

Wangjiu customer reviews:

“Great value for money, and tasty too especially when drunk chilled in summer. It pairs well with all kinds of food.”

“Superb value, cheap, delicious, and the preferred drink for gatherings.”
“A wine that reminds me very much of Sprite.”

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