At Prowein China held at the end of last year, a key topic for discussion was how wine brands and producers can better understand Chinese consumers and their consumption behaviour.
Amongst the research presented at the trade show was data from consumer behaviour studies carried out by the Beijing University of Agriculture. The study was lead by Professor Li Demei who decide to focus on casual wine drinkers rather than those who considered themselves to be wine aficionados or experts.
Chinese Consumers’ Taste Preferences
The results of the survey revealed that Chinese consumers prefer wines which offer a little sweetness and are low in tannins. More specifically, these types of consumers prefer white wines with moderate acidity levels and a touch of sweetness, while they enjoy red wines with low or medium tannin and acidity levels.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed a slight difference between men and women. Female respondents reported being accepting of wines with higher residual sugar levels, while men were more tolerant of tannin and bitter flavours.
Some Sweetness Is Preferred
According to Professor Li, Chinese consumers prefer their wines to have some sweetness “because it is an easily likable and perceivable element in wine, as opposed to acidity and tannins.”
This doesn’t mean, though, that dessert wines are highly sought-after by Chinese consumers. On the contrary, rich dessert wines like Sauternes have struggled on the Chinese market and do not enjoy popular appeal.
One reason for this was given by Chinese consumers interviewed in the survey who expressed concern with drinking wine or eating food high in sugar due to the risk of obesity. Chinese consumers thus tend to prefer wines with a low to moderate amount of sweetness rather than bottles with very high residual sugar levels.
Wine And Chinese Cuisine
Another crucial aspect of Chinese consumers’ preferences is related to the types of food these individuals usually eat. China has four main styles of cuisine; Sichuan, Huaiyang, Cantonese, and Shangdong. Consumers who are used to eating one of these types of cuisines tend to have preferences related to the ingredients and flavours used in these different cooking styles.
For example, those who normally eat Sichuan cuisine show a preference for smoky flavours in wine, while consumers of Huaiyang cuisine enjoy wines with apricot and grassy notes and are more tolerant of bitter flavours.
On the other hand, those who eat Cantonese food don’t enjoy bitterness or tannin and consumers who are used to Shangdong cuisine tend to be more tolerant to tannins than any of the other groups.
Detailed information like this about Chinese consumers’ taste preferences is vital to wine brands and producers, allowing them to better understand the Chinese consumer and to more accurately target their wines to particular consumer segments. Adapting your wines to meet the specific needs of Chinese consumers will help you to stand out from the competition, and help ensure brand loyalty in the long term.