Wine Australia urges "cautious optimism" on China

Wine Australia urges "cautious optimism" on China

Wine Australia's general manager for market development, James Gosper, has told just-drinks that the country's wineries are right to be optimistic about China, but should approach the market cautiously.

China was the fifth largest export destination for Australian wines in volume terms in 2011, according to Wine Australia figures. The country was also the most popular destination for Australian wine priced above AUD7.50 per litre (US$8).

However, while Gosper thinks that China shows "huge potential", he believes that much more research on consumption trends is needed. "At the moment, one of the things about the Chinese market is that it's very hard to understand," he told just-drinks in an interview, published today (31 January).

Speaking on the sidelines of the Australia + annual wine tasting in London last week, Gosper said: "We need to better understand where this wine is going. Is it going as a gift and not being drunk? Because that's not a sustainable channel."

He added: "There's a huge pipeline in China and we could still be filling the pipeline." In 2011, exports of Australian bottled wine to Asia rose by 24% to AUD400m. Meanwhile, exports fell by 10% globally, to AUD1.89bn, reflecting declines in Europe and North America.