The Hong Kong-listed financial company Golden financial spent US$40m last week to aqcuire 40ha of Napa Velley vineyards. It says despite overall consumption being lower still than its European counterparts, the table wine market is becoming increasingly popular in China.
Dynasty Fine Wines, Great Wall, and Changyu, China’s three major players that command over 70 per cent of sales by domestic producers, have all engaged in overseas buying ventures, says Louis Wong Wai-kit, a director at Phillip Capital Management in Hong Kong.
“In the last two to three months, I’ve heard of two to three individuals going with their financial advisors to Bordeaux,” said Roddy Ropner, founder of Wellspring Wines and previous Director at Christies in charge of running the Asian market wine auctions. For any winemaker who looks at Bordeaux, Napa is just a natural progression, he added. As for the price? A million dollars per acre is “not outrageous”, he said. Land in Napa Valley isn’t infinite.
With rising incomes, Chinese consumers are expected to trade up to more premium spirits and wines. Great Wall is beginning to target these consumers; it has phased out its low end products and is expanding high end selections. The sales growth of the Chinese wine market has increased 15-20 per cent per year.