“Australian fine wine is flying in China at the moment. We’re successfully distributing our wines through The Wine Republic in China, which we co-own, Darren Rathbone told The Drinks Business. “In terms of imports into China, France is out in front, but Australia is a close second in both volume and value sales and considerably ahead of Chile.” Rathbone admitted that the thirst for Australian wine in China is driving some producers to pull out of Europe and turn their priorities eastwards. “A lot of Australian wine companies are chasing the Chinese dragon at the moment and are pulling out of Europe because it’s too expensive to be there”. The potential upside is so high, and the opportunity cost of waiting is clear to see. Penfolds Grange is one of the most popular Australian wines in the prestige-driven Chinese market, viewed by some as ‘the Australian Lafite’. “There will be a lot of consolidation within the Australian wine industry in 2013 and a change in direction away from Europe and towards China” Rathbone said.