Chinese viticulture hampered by high costs

25th November, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

Viticultural conditions in China make fine wine production difficult and bulk wine production expensive, according to Li Demei, vice general secretary of the China Wine Association.

WORKERS BURY VINES IN NINGXIA

Workers bury the vines for winter in Ningxia. By Nicholas Acquroff. Source: www.broadsheet.com.au

Despite commenting that China “will become another big wine country” at a conference on industry trends at November’s HKTDC Wine & Spirits fair, he highlighted a number of drawbacks to growing grapes in the country.

Speaking of wine regions in the north of China, he said it was “difficult to make wine” due to hot summers and “extremely cold” winters.

Furthermore, humid conditions in early autumn can present a particular challenge for viticulturists in the country, as the combination of heat and moisture require vineyard managers to spray against rot, but, because such conditions are often close to harvest, it’s risky to use fungicides – any applications less than 30 days before picking could leave residues on the grapes which could get into the wine.

On the other hand, if vintners choose a dry area they may find it difficult to find a source of water for irrigation, according to Demei.

He also stressed that burying vines in the winter – a common practice to protect against freezing temperatures – “costs a lot”.

For these reasons, he summed up, “The quality of the vineyard cannot be as good as Bordeaux, and the cost is higher than Chile or Argentina.”

In other words, China will find it hard to compete at the very top and bottom end of the market.

When discussing current trends in Chinese domestic wine production he said that although the Ningxia wine region receives the most press coverage, it is in fact Xinjiang that is by far the biggest viticultural area, but because much of its production is sold in bulk, you rarely see the GI on labels.

Demei also noted that Chinese consumers choose wine according to price, region, packaging, brand, grape variety and then taste.

“Taste is not top,” he stated, adding, “food and wine pairing on the table doesn’t matter, and it’s not possible to choose a wine to match such a range of flavours.”

This statement supports the findings of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, which, as previously reported by the drinks business showed that the Chinese don’t drink wine for its taste, but buy the beverage for its supposed health benefits.

Meanwhile, Demei noted that there’s a myth surrounding Chinese tastes and sweet wine: “It’s not true that the Chinese consumer likes sweet wine”.

As a consequence he commented, “Most of the Sauternes that is drunk in China is for free tasting, it is not being bought by the consumer.”

One Response to “Chinese viticulture hampered by high costs”

  1. Cathy Tsui says:

    Another reason, China is lack of wheat and rice production and relies a lot on import, while the Baijiu uses lots of wheat/rice and other 3 kinds of grains, it must be changed as of feeding demands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Account Manager

Justerini & Brooks
London, UK

Cider Master

Emily Estate UK Ltd
Bruton, Somerset, GB

Senior Customer Marketing Manager

Conviviality Group
London or Bristol, UK

Customer Marketing Manager- 12 month FTC

Conviviality Direct
London, UK

PR Account Executive

Clementine Communications Ltd
Fulham, UK

Marketing Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, N7, UK

Brand Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, N7, UK

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 8th September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more