China is today the undisputed leader of the Australian wine export market. According to data from Wine Australia, Australian wine exports to China in 2018 reached AU$1.14 billion (US$818 million) which represented an 18% increase on the previous year. In fact, in the three years since the 2015 free trade agreement between China and Australia, exports have more than doubled.
As a result of the booming trade between the two countries is the growing interest amongst Chinese investors and businessmen in Australian wineries. According to a recent SBS News article, real estate agents in Australian wine regions are receiving “dozens of calls a week” coming from Chinese investors keen on buying into the market.
Barossa Grape and Wine Association chief executive officer James March told ABC News that “between 5 and 10 percent of the vineyards and wineries in his region were now owned by people from China, often in partnership with existing landowners.” One example is the historic Chateau Yaldara which was purchased by Chinese businessman Arthur Wang in 2014 for AU$15.5 million.
Other high profile purchases include the acquisition of Kilikanoon in Clare Valley by Changyu last year forAU$20.6 million and another major Chinese winery, Weilong Wine Grape Company, which has already purchased a number of Australian vineyards as part of a AU$120 million investment plan.
Chinese interest is also growing in other Australian wine regions like the Riverland, the Murray, and the Griffith district to meet the needs of their existing markets in China.