Wine imports are at a record high in China

Wine imports are at a record high in China

Imports of bottled wine to China hit a record US$1.27bn in 2011, up 94% year-on-year, according to local reports.

Channel News Asia has reported this week that the value of bulk wine into China, however, fell by 20% in the same period, to $120m. The news outlet was citing statistics released at the first China Worldwide Wine Summit Forum, in Anhui Province, earlier this week. Sales of imported bottled wine overtook bulk wine back in 2009 .

Lin Feng, vice president of H & J Consulting Company, said: "The sale of imported bottled wine doubled that of loose-packed wine in two years, indicating that the imported wine market is evolving from low-end to high-end.”

Figures from the China Culture Association of Poetry and Wine (CCAPW), the forum's sponsor, estimated that the total volume of imported wine increased by 76.5% and 80.9% in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Sales of China-produced wine, meanwhile, grew by 18% per year from 2006 to 2010, reaching CNY34.2bn (US$5.4bn) in 2011, up 36.3% year-on-year, the CCAPW said.

Chilean ambassador to China, Luis Schmidt, said the Chinese wine market was gaining greater attention from Latin American countries, becoming the continent's fastest growing market with an annual growth rate of around 50% in recent years, he said.

Earlier this month, it emerged that China has become the leading destination by volume globally for imports of Bordeaux wine, totalling 58m bottles, and the second in terms of value, generating sales of EUR334m (443.5m), behind Hong Kong.