Prowine China 2019: The first-timers of the show

Carmen Stevens

South African’s first black winemaker Carmen Stevens debuted her wines in Prowine China this year. “This is my first time participating in a Chinese wine fair and I’m here to put out more feelers to see what I can sell,” she said. She had been to China in 2009 for travelling and revisiting after a decade away she was amazed by the infrastructure development of the country, especially in Shanghai.

Positioned as a premium quality label, she produces 160 tons of wine each year and exports 90% of them to overseas market, mainly in the UK and US. She is interested in opening up the Asian market in China but at the same time was cautious.

“During the show, I met some young visitors who were knowledgeable and they appreciate the quality of my wine; unfortunately most of them were held back because of its origin – South Africa. Meanwhile I also received some guests who visited the booth purposefully to look for South African wines under USD$3. I think the market may need some time to gain more understanding of the region and get to know our country has also the potential to produce wines of premium quality.

“If there are Chinese importers interested in my wine and willing to offer a decent price, I am more than happy to work with them. After all, I can’t sacrifice the cost margin as I am responsible for improving the lives of my workers and the country.” Stevens explained. Having been involved in a range of community projects, she feeds over 10,000 kids in South Africa each year via sponsoring meals in their school canteens. Once under-privileged herself, her motif in winemaking has always been revolving around giving back to the society as much as she can via her elegant yet expressive range of wines.

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