Fresh ideas woo Chinese wine buffs

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
South West Development Commission industry adviser Matt Lewis and Godolphin Communications general manager Summer Yan with the “wine bible”.
Camera IconSouth West Development Commission industry adviser Matt Lewis and Godolphin Communications general manager Summer Yan with the “wine bible”. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

A communications expert said niche wineries should stock the Halliday “wine bible” translated to Mandarin and collaborate with neighbours to send samples overseas to break into the Chinese wine market.

Speaking during a seminar on the Chinese wine market at Caves House, Yallingup, last week, Godolphin communications general manager Summer Yan said the Halliday wine guide helped to break the language barrier for Chinese tourists ready to buy in bulk.

Cellar-door experiences can build an international reputation with tourists searching for the “real deal” experience and later referring others looking to import wines she said.

The tasting note “dry red” makes up 85 per cent of wine consumption in China due to cultural significance, ensuring the success of the Margaret River region’s celebrated cabernet sauvignon grapes.

“You must be open-minded when looking at the Chinese market, bulk buyers are coming to Australia more frequently looking for small award-winning wineries,” she said.

In Chinese culture there is a lack of wine knowledge, therefore it is important to coach buyers through the process and educate tourists to encourage follow-on business as interest in sommeliers increases.

Making connections with expats and having a sales team in Chinese provinces was the ideal way to develop a long-term brand in the Chinese market according to South West Development Commission industry adviser Simon Taylor.

“If you don’t have any established connections in China then building an online shop with an international portfolio of multiple award-winning wineries has great appeal,” he said.

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