Allan Scott secures China deal

Last updated 07:39 17/07/2013
Allan Scott
Brent Marris
Derek Flynn
Station call: Brent Marris is the latest owner of Leefield Station, in the Waihopai Valley, an early settler run with a history dating back to the 1840s when it was settled by Constantine Dillon.

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Allan Scott Family Winemakers is the latest in a growing list of Marlborough wineries to ship wine to China.

Mr Scott has secured a significant wine export deal, with more than 200,000 bottles to be shipped to China in the first year alone.

New Zealand Winegrowers sees China as a key growth market, and Marlborough wine companies believe the Chinese wine-drinking culture is still evolving.

Figures from New Zealand Winegrowers showed the value of New Zealand wine exported to China had increased by more than 1000 per cent in the past five years.

Global marketing director Chris Yorke said in 2007, just over 200,000 litres of wine, worth $2.1 million, was exported to China. In the past 12 months, the figure was 2.1 million litres of wine, worth $31.8m.

"We see China as a key growth market for New Zealand wines, across all key varietals including full-bodied reds, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir," Mr Yorke said.

The biggest challenge for New Zealand exporters to China was finding a good distributor, he said.

Wairau River Wines export manager Dave Kenny said Wairau had been exporting to China since 2007, and had just changed importers to improve its reach throughout the entire country.

"I'm of the belief they are still not really drinking our wine," he said.

"It's going to take time and education for the Chinese to really get immersed in the culture of wine."

Total exports to China represented only 5 per cent of the label's sales, and returns "had not been fantastic", he said.

Marisco Vineyards founder Brent Marris, who has been exporting his wine to China for the past 18 months, said China was still very much an "emerging market", but sales had grown year on year.

Saint Clair Family Estate senior winemaker Hamish Clark said the brand had been exporting to China on a small scale for almost 10 years, after being approached by a distributor.

Competition between Kiwi, South African and Chilean wines was intense in China, he said.

"It has been commented to me in the last couple of trips that the appreciation of the consumers is rapidly changing, particularly in the 25 to 30-year-old age group," he said. "It will take several years for their influence to rub off on the next generation, but when it does, I think there will be a huge demand for the New World white wines."

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In 2007, New Zealand exported just over 200,000 litres of wine to China, worth $2.1 million.

In the past 12 months, 2.5m litres of New Zealand wine was exported to China, worth $31.8m.

China is New Zealand wine exporters' fifth largest market, behind Australia, Britain, United States and Canada.

The average price per litre of wine exported to China is $11.47 free on board.

The average price of all wine exported is $6.58 per litre free on board.

Source: New Zealand Winegrowers 

- The Marlborough Express


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