With economic growth and changing consumer lifestyle among consumers, China’s demand for wine continues to grow year after year. Younger drinkers account for a growing share of consumption. This is opening up opportunities for local and foreign vintners alike. While red wine remains the most consumed in the country, white wine has been making massive inroads, based on the increasing imports and sales.
The Growing White Wine Market in China
For decades, China remains, predominantly, a red wine market. Most consumers choose red wine varietals due to their perceived health benefits and lucky color. White wine only accounts for 15% of the market. The increasing number of wine lovers in China, however, are creating demands for all kinds of wines, from dry to sweet and fruity wines.
Wine Intelligence is optimistic that white wine will soon take its place in the mainstream market. 56% of imported wine drinkers claim they purchase white wine on a regular basis. This strong growth in sales is driven by the increasing popularity of aromatic whites such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Moscato. In some stores in first-tier cities like Beijing, white wine now accounts for 15-20% of sales.
Main Drivers of White Wine Consumption in China
The increasing acceptance of white wine in China is principally attributed to the younger Chinese drinkers. These consumers are more open to trying new styles and see wine as a social drink. Another emerging demographic group is female wine drinkers. White wines with a slight sweetness and moderate acidity or tannin levels are generally preferred by this demographic.
White wines are mostly consumed at banquets and social gatherings. Consumers like pairing the varietals to white meat and seafood cuisines. Among the Australian white wines available in the market, Chardonnay and Riesling are the most popular choices among the younger Chinese consumers. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand has also been acquiring loyal followers among these drinkers.
Parting Thoughts on the White Wine Market in China
White wine in China has shown remarkable growth in recent years. While red wine has been dominant, the emergence of younger drinkers is starting to change that dynamic. Chinese consumers are becoming more experimental and open-minded as they fully embrace the wine culture. With the number of wine lovers expected to increase to around 70-80 million in 2020, there is no better time than now for wineries to take their chance in the Chinese market.