Changyu to sell wines from its Australian vineyards in June

China’s biggest domestic winery, Yantai Changyu Pioneers, will start selling wines made from its recently purchased Australian winery as early as June this year, to create “a new growth engine”.

One of Changyu’s wineries in Ningxia

“Consumers are changing,” said Zhou Hongjiang, the company’s new chairman, who took over in January. “People born in the ’50s and ’60s may like Baijiu but younger consumers born in the ’70s and ’80s want to try new things,” he was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report.

The winery purchased a majority stake in Australia’s boutique winery Kilikanoon Wines in Clare Valley last December for a total sum of AU$20.6 million, with an eye on Australian wine’s growing allure in mainland China.

Domestic wine production, as reported by dbHK, has been steadily declining, and for the fifth year its volume dropped to a new low at 10 million hectolitres, while imported wine has been steadily growing as a category.

Aware of the shifting dynamics, Changyu is looking to increase sales of its brandy products and imported wines in the coming years, said Zhou.

At the moment, the company’s local wine sales take up about 80% of Changyu’s total sales with 5% for imported wines and the rest being brandy.

In the coming years, however, it is estimated that local wine sales will decrease to about 50%, while imported wines will rise to around 20% and the remaining 30% will be brandy, and the company is hoping to use the spirit to steal a bigger share from the popular Baijiu market, he revealed.

Changyu also has wineries in France, Spain and Chile.

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