Faustino: ‘China will become our most important market in five years’

With a departure from Spain’sold fashioned image and China’s growing thirst for wine, Group Faustino, the Spanish wine giant, is confident that the country will become its most important wine market within the next five years, according to its CEO.

CEO of Groupo Faustino, Francisco Honrubia Grijalbo

The group has been exporting to the mainland China for the past 10 years but it was only in the past three years that it experienced fast-paced growth, following its partnership with China’s COFCO Wine & Wine, the state-owned wine importing company, in 2015.

Today, Faustino counts China as its third biggest export market behind the UK and Switzerland. “And within the next the five or 10 years, it will become the most important one for us,” Francisco Honrubia Grijalbo, company CEO, told dbHK during Vinexpo.

Riding on the growth of China, the company is poised to expand its market across Asia as well. “Along with the growth of the Chinese market, we have really developed a strategy in Asia, especially when Spanish wine is not so widely developed in Asia, and based on our strength in China, we want to grow in other markets of Asia as well,” he explained.

Grijalbo looks to increase its exports to Asia to as much as 40%, up from its current 10-15%. “I think we should more than double in the next three years. I really think we have the product and the resources to grow.”

Commenting on Spanish wine’s lag behind Australia and France in Asia, he believes it has to do with consumers’ perception of Spanish wines being jammy and oaky, an image that Faustino is trying to steer away from with its two new launches – Faustino & Eneko and ICON Edition – which he characterised as premium and “more modern” interpretations of Faustino wines.

The former is a collaboration between the winery and Spanish chef Eneko Atxa, using a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano. The latter is a “more premium, more exclusive, and more similar to the concept of single vineyard,” he explained, adding that the winery has applied for single vineyard classification after Spain’s Consejo Regulador of Rioja introduced a single vineyard category last year.

Using both Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%) grapes, ICON Edition is made from a small parcel of 6 hectares, located in Malpica (Rioja Alavesa) protected by the Sierra de Cantabría mountains.

“We are behind Australia and France in Asia, we have to change the perception of Spanish wines. This is what we are trying to do, starting today, with the new launches,” he stated.

The wines will be available in Hong Kong later this year with its local distributor Christopher Stewart.

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