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Village Burgundy could be a ‘gateway’ to new wine consumers in China

Maison Louis Jadot aims to boost the success of its wines in China by promoting its village Burgundy wines, in the hope that brand-loyal consumers will climb the ladder towards its Premiers and Grands Crus.

Village Burgundy could be a 'gateway' to new wine consumers in China

ASC Fine Wines, the exclusive importer and distributor of Louis Jadot wines in China, launched a series of winemaker dinners and tastings to promote the Burgundy producer among Chinese consumers and sommeliers.

Held in Shanghai and Chengdu, Frédéric Barnier, chief winemaker of Louis Jadot, was present to explain the maison’s strategy to cracking into the Chinese market.

Barnier argued that amid a global downturn in wine consumption, ”regional Bourgogne wines could serve as a gateway for new wine enthusiasts, fostering a lasting affection for Burgundy”.

He highlighted a generational shift in wine consumption, with today’s younger consumers favouring lighter, less alcoholic options. “The young people are looking for something more easy, casual, for different occasions. And for us at Jadot, we have to convince them that there is an accessible part to Burgundy.”

Makoto Nagae, CEO of ASC Fine Wines, a subsidiary of the Suntory Group, agreed that “amid a backdrop of economic slowdown, generally, consumers are increasingly value-conscious, seeking wines that offer both quality and affordability”.

He told db: “In our case, Louis Jadot’s regional and village wines are finding particular appeal among discerning Chinese consumers, offering a blend of quality and value that resonates in today’s market.”

Founded by Louis Henry Denis Jadot in 1859, the Jadot family’s first vineyard purchase was the Beaune vineyard Clos des Ursules in 1826. Today, the maison produces 800,000 cases of wine annually including regional wines to rarefied Grand Crus, across approximately 150 different wines such as Beaune, Santenay all the way to its flagship wines of Corton Charlemagne, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint Jacques.

Village Burgundy could be a 'gateway' to new wine consumers in China
Louis Jadot chief winemaker Frédéric Barnier

Barnier emphasised the value and accessibility of Louis Jadot’s offerings, including Macon Village and Chalonnaise. “I think probably no one has invested as we did to produce good Macon Village, good Bourgogne-Chalonnaise, good Beaujolais,” he said.

The goal is to allow consumers to familiarise themselves with the brand through village wines, before moving on to Premier Crus, and ultimately, Grand Crus.

Bernier compared the progression to dating, explaining: “It’s the first date we could have with Burgundy. And the idea is to have another date.”

ASC’s Nagae argued that brands rule the roost in Chinese wine consumption. “The wine market in China is undeniably driven by brands amidst other factors, where those with widespread recognition reign supreme,” he said, noting that by brand, he also means well-known wine regions and grape varieties. “Brands encompass not only specific producers but also regions and grape varieties, like Burgundy Pinot Noir, Australian Shiraz, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and German Riesling.”

And the Burgundy ‘brand’ is garnering more and more attention among Chinese consumers. “Burgundy as a brand of wine region has steadily risen in popularity within the Chinese wine market over recent years, with its wines of all classifications garnering increasing attention.”

An anticipated moderation in Bourgogne prices, coupled with more favourable vintages, is likely to help turn the heads of even more Chinese wine drinkers.

Following stark hikes in recent years, Barnier said Burgundy prices are now “back to a level which should be clearly more accessible and stable”.

Barnier is “very optimistic” about the potential of the Chinese market. “It’s not a question of volume,” he said, but noted that the market is only going to get more mature.

Through strategic partnerships, such as with ASC, Louis Jadot aims to educate consumers about the diversity of Burgundy wines. Barnier concluded: “We are developing the range of wines we are selling with the ASC teams. And I think we are doing it well.”

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