COFCO seeks to make Sterling China’s go-to Napa wine

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and China’s leading wine importer COFCO are joining hands to launch a new Rawson’s Retreat collection and Napa’s Sterling wines in Mainland China, following the success of the two’s collaboration on Penfolds ‘Max’ collection.

COFCO “We want to make Sterling one of Chinese consumers’ go-to Napa wines, and we are capable of doing it,” Castle Li, general manager of COFCO Wines & Spirits, told dbHK. The collaboration will give COFCO exclusive distribution rights for Sterling wines in Mainland China.

“Sterling suits consumers’ growing demand for wine’s quality and price. In addition, Napa wines are generally good quality, and are very approachable. I think these wines will please Chinese palates,” Li continued, noting this year the company added more channels including direct private consumer sales and on-trade sales through restaurants to expand its distribution network.

“American wines, however, don’t take up too much share in China, so Sterling, in the short term, can’t compete with our existing brands such as Penfolds or Rawson’s Retreat in terms of sales number or market influences.”

Rawson’s Retreat is already available in the Chinese market but the new collection launched by TWE and COFCO is expected to be from a, “more premium tier,” said TWE.

Earlier this year, TWE and COFCO launched Penfolds Max collection in China. The limited edition Penfolds Max’s ‘The Promise’ was especially well received with the Chinese New Year packaging and was “one of the most popular Chinese New Year gifts for Year of the Monkey” in 2016, according to TWE.

State-owned COFCO is China’s biggest food company.

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