Domestic wine brand Niya is about get a taste of star power as popular Chinese actor of Before the Dawn and Finding Mr. Right fame Wu Xiubo (吴秀波) becomes its new ambassador. China’s wine market was traditionally dominated by foreign brands, but is now rapidly growing as domestic wine makers try to establish themselves as credible brands against the prestige of foreign imports.
Back in the late 90’s, locally produced red wines were often compared to “cough syrup” by Chinese consumers. China has come a long way, with some top wines from China now considered even comparable to Bordeaux by experts in a 2011 Ningxia vs. Bordeaux blind-tasting competition. Today, China’s three largest wine producers—Changyu Pioneer Wine, Great Wall Wine, and Dynasty Wine—command nearly half of all domestic wine sales.
Local wine producers are working hard to change the low impressions people have of locally produced wines. Niya, owned by CITIC Guoan Wine, is hoping to employ actor Wu’s fame to establish its product as being a timeless choice of classy savants, an image Wu has cultivated for himself in China.
“Under the grindings of time, the experienced Wu Xiubo is ready to welcome his “Golden Era”; after much maturation, Niya Wine is now known to be a respectable vintage. It is by virtue of mutual precipitation of time and experience that has led Wu Xiubo and Niya to walk this path together,” says Niya’s press campaign.
Brand awareness through the power of TV stars is one thing, but wine makers are also trying to shed their stereotypically bad “Made in China” image. Niya’s parent company, CITIC, has also teamed up with Domaines Barons de Rothschild, the owners of the famous French wine estate Chateau Lafite, to give the Bordeaux-loving Chinese an assurance of their quality.