Greetings from Beijing,
Where the sweatiest part of the summer is done even if the market is still feeling the heat.
This issue features ten 'unsung heroes' of wine in China, 25 labels you might confuse with Penfolds (Penfriends, anyone?), and wine trends in 'tier 1' cities.
It also includes three entries about the faltering wine scene: one on the first six months of import stats, a second on the reversing roles of Old World and New World producers, a third with a market overview.
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Lists of "who's who" in China wine tend to repeat the same names. So I wrote about ten lesser-known people who deserve a shout out. They range in profession from winemaker to distributor to academic, and are found throughout China: Ma Huiqin, Julien Boulard, Zhou Shuzhen, Tersina Shieh, Zhang Yanzhi, Alberto Pascual, Jim Sun, Zhao Desheng, Chen Shu and Lee Yean Yean. More here
. This story first appeared in Meininger's Wine Business International
New World vs Old World
Once upon a time, Old World wines dominated the China market. The trio of France, Spain and Italy had more than a 60% share, far ahead of New World counterparts Australia, Chile and the U.S.
Last night, I had insomnia so I crunched some wine stats from the past decade. Every two years from 2010 to 2018 plus the first-half of 2019. They show how the New World trio has flipped the script. More here
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Penfolds ranks among the most admired brands in China. Here are 25 labels that evoke the Penfolds font, colour, style and name, from Penfriends to Panfield. To be sure, there are many more out there.
Wine in First-tier Cities
Wine diversity is spreading in ‘tier 1’ cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The number of connoisseurs might pale versus those buying mass market and status-oriented brands, but is a bright spot in a struggling market. This Wine Business International
piece includes comments from Matt Bahen (De Bortoli), Charles Carrard (Boisset), Yiftach Bar (Diva China), Isabella Ko (The Merchants), Alex Chen (Alexander Wine), Oliver Zhou (KOL), Claudia Masueger (CHEERS) and David Schaumann (CHEERS).
China's 'Rocky Road'
"We saw another boom for five years. Now things are getting tough and casualties are high." Alberto Fernandez, managing partner of importer and distributor Torres China, is not optimistic about the China market for the next year. A look at what's happening, including insights from Carlos Miranda (Foshan Good Wine Trading) and Helene Ponty (Ponty Wines). An article I wrote for Wine Searcher
Ouch! First Six Months
The wine import stats this year ain't pretty--and that's on top of an ugly 2018. Five key points about the first six months, including new leaders for volume (Chile) and value (Australia) as the relationship between China and France, and notably Bordeaux, feels shaky: you might say they are sleeping in separate beds.
Note: This newsletter content is general information. I make no guarantee as to its completeness or accuracy. Use it at your own risk. In other words, I try hard to be accurate, but mistakes can happen, so reader beware. Also, I'm not a fan of spam and aim to send this newsletter only to people who signed up at Grape Wall blog or agreed by email or in person to receive it. Cheers, Jim Boyce