Unfiltered with Castle Li of COFCO

Castle Li is the man who sits atop China’s biggest wine importer, COFCO Wine & Wine – the wine and spirits importing arm of China’s biggest foodstuff conglomerate COFCO – as well as the state-owned company’s flagship Chinese winery, Great Wall, and is perhaps one of the most watched personalities in China’s wine industry – and for good reasons.

With mainland China’s expanding imported wine market, COFCO Wine & Wine in a short span of just four years since its founding in 2014 has grown to be the biggest wine importer by volume in the country. In 2017, the company imported over 10 million bottles of wine, compared with 7.5 million in 2016, Li revealed to dbHK in an interview late last year, a number that saw it surpass its main competitor ASC Fine Wines.  

The same year, Li was named as the general manager of China’s leading Great Wall winery, also owned by COFCO, bolstered by his strong performance with COFCO Wine & Wine. Since the new appointment, Li has been vocal about his ambition, determined to turn Great Wall into a, “world-class wine that could represent China”, a strong sentiment that he brought up a few times in our full interview below.

There are signs that Great Wall is going to embark on a more dynamic, diverse and export-oriented approach in the coming years. For the first time, the state-owned winery is participating in international trade shows including upcoming ProWein in Germany and Vinexpo Hong Kong in May. Li has been advocating a more open-minded approach to competition from imported wines. But how successful will the revamp be? Li and his team will be watching closely.

Speaking to dbHK, the executive mapped out in detail Great Wall’s international growth strategy, the perils of combatting counterfeit wine in China, both imported and domestic wines, and his love for football.

Click through the pages to read the full interview.

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Your email address will not be published.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

Export Manager UK On Trade

Home based in London or the South East, GB

Global Head of Marketing

ATOM Brands
Tunbridge Wells, GB

Sales Executive

Three Wine Men
Home-based but must be available to travel throughout the UK with frequent trips to London, GB

Senior Sales Operations Executive

Park Royal, London, GB

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

On Trade & Corporate Accounts Manager

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Customer Service Assistant

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Key Account Manager - Distilling Sector - Scotland

Scotland - call for exact details, UK

UK Brand Ambassador - Ableforth’s

ATOM Brands
Field-based, UK

Wine Sales Consultant

Valbonne, South of France, FR

Pink Rosé Festival

7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

12th Feb 2018


18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th January 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2018

Deadline : 23rd February 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

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

Click to view more