Chinese spend per bottle on NZ wine beats other countries

A sales assistant stands in front of shelves displaying imported wines at a supermarket in Shanghai, China. Wine ...

A sales assistant stands in front of shelves displaying imported wines at a supermarket in Shanghai, China. Wine consumption in China has dropped off in the last year as austerity measures have taken effect, but analysts are predicting sales will pick up.

Chinese buyers pay much more per litre for New Zealand wine than other leading global consumers.

They spend $14.57 compared with Canadians ($10), Americans ($7) Australians ($6.50) and British ($5.92).

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the difference was explained by two factors: in the UK in particular, but also in other markets, a lot of wine was sent in bulk and repackaged.

A litre of New Zealand wine generates on average $14.57 when exported to China, but only $5.92 when exported to the UK.

A litre of New Zealand wine generates on average $14.57 when exported to China, but only $5.92 when exported to the UK.

Secondly, Chinese drinkers prefer red wines, which are more expensive than whites.

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China is now New Zealand's sixth largest wine market, although its total sales of $27 million for the year to the end of June 2015 are far behind those of the US, Australia and the UK.

Wine exports to the US are worth $372m, up 13 per cent on the previous year. Other leading export destinations are Australia ($362m), the United Kingdom ($354m), Canada ($95), and the Netherlands ($41m). 

Gregan said despite the low volume of sales to China, the market there was primed to take off.

"We are expecting it to grow quite strongly although there has been an austerity programme which has put a dampener on the market. It's difficult to say where it will end up," he said.

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UK-based Mintel Group Ltd, a consumption consultancy firm, said that after a sharp fall from 18.7 per cent year-on-year growth rate in 2012 to 1.4 per cent in 2014, volume growth in China was estimated to bounce back to 4.6 per cent in 2015.  

The China Daily newspaper recently carried a report on prospects for New Zealand wine. It quoted Natalie Potts, NZ Winegrowers marketing manager, Asia, as saying exports had increased nearly 10 per cent during 2015.

Chinese wine drinkers increasingly buy online. They were concerned about provenance, authenticity and food security, said Potts.

The most popular New Zealand variety is pinot noir, although Gregan said sauvignon blanc was becoming more sought after.  

Wine is New Zealand's sixth largest export good by value. Wine exports last financial year were worth over $1.4 billion, aiming for a 2020 target of $2b.

 - Stuff

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