Over the course of my international wine business studies through the MW program and my general work experience, many generalizations about China were discussed. During the past week, I really dove into the mainland Chinese wine market to understand what is happening there and to see if the generalizations are true or false.
Myth #1 – Chinese wine drinkers only drink red wines because red is lucky.
This is completely untrue. In fact, in one of the stores I went into called Cheers, one of their top sellers was a South African Chardonnay! It seems the wine market for mainland China are equal opportunity drinkers for both white and red. Rose is still lagging here however.
Myth #2 – Chinese wine buyers will only buy wine if the label is red, has a dragon, or gold coloring.
You see these types of labels gracing the aisles of the general supermarkets. However, when you go to Ningxia wineries who are designing their own labels, they tend to be brightly colored, depicting many types of subjects including, flowers, birds, phoenix, dragons, and people. Very few are solid red unless they are imports.
Myth #3 – Chinese only drink very expensive or very cheap wines.
It seems the sweet spot for the everyday drinker is between 50 – 100 rmb. These are not cheap wines but equate to around $8-15 per 750 mL bottle. Since the austerity measures were inacted in 2013, sales of very high end wines (above 150rmb) have been tough however there are still some of that price point moving. Below 50 rmb is difficult as well because wines of these price points are now competing with ready to drink beverages, baiju, and cocktails which are typically seen as “cooler” among the younger drinkers that gravitate towards this price category.
There you go! The top three myths of the Chinese wine market dispelled.