New Zealand winemakers plan to capitalize on the growing Chinese taste for Western sophistication and Villa Maria’s Charlotte Read is passionate about the potential for NZ sauvignon blanc to make a significant impact in the Chinese premier wine market. ‘We are known as producing the benchmark standard of sauvignon blanc wine and we now urgently need to capitalize on that premium position in China,’ says Read. NZ primarily exports sauvignon blanc to China which means a special effort is necessary to cut-through a market dominated by red wine. The Chinese associate red wine with health benefits. NZTE estimates it accounts for as much as 70 per cent of all wine consumption in the country. The NZTE report has confirmed the largest market for imported wine consumption is “on-premise” at top-end hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. NZ wines are generally positioned on restaurant wine lists at a respectable US$40-US$90 a bottle in Shanghai and Beijing.