The owners of Chateau Haut-Bailly, in Pessac-Leognan, first traveled to China in 2000. ’At the time, they didn’t know what a cork or a corkscrew was,’ said Veronique Sanders, the chateau’s general manager. ‘Chinese sophistication has since advanced rapidly,‘ she said. ‘The difference with other emerging markets we’ve gone into in the past is the size of the country, which means China has an absolutely incredible potential’. Florence Cathiard, owner of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte acknowledged that she was initially wary of China as a reliable market for her high-end wines. But the turning point for her came around 2008, and China now accounts for 25 percent of Cathiard’s sales, making it her largest market.
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