Second-Tier Spotlight: Chengdu Catching Wine Bug

Chengdu Wine Fair Recently Wrapped Up In Capital Of Sichuan Province

More Chengdu residents are pairing their notoriously spicy cuisine with imported wines

More Chengdu residents are pairing their notoriously spicy cuisine with imported wines

The wine investment fever sweeping through mainland China, which has seen new collectors head in droves to Hong Kong looking to get their hands on cases of Lafite and Yquem, is now finding its way to Chengdu, capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan province. While Chengdu — a UNESCO “City of Gastronomy” — is known more for spicy food than wine appreciation, the Chengdu Evening News notes this week that the increasing wealth that’s pumping up the city’s luxury market is now attracting some of the world’s top wineries.

From the Chengdu Evening News (translation by Jing Daily team):

Compared to Beijing and Shanghai, Chengdu is an emerging market for red wine, but we’ve already seen more overseas high-end wineries entering this city. At the moment, Aussino and other mid-range wine brands, as well as France’s “Eight Famous Estates” (Lafite, Latour, Chateau Margaux, Petrus and others) can be found in Chengdu. On March 25, Grand Court International Wine Co. and a new cuisine-focused media company organized the “Four Bordeaux Fengyun 2011” at the Chengdu New Century Exhibition Center. At the event, four major Bordeaux wine merchants joined up with Grand Court to present their wines to the burgeoning Chengdu wine consumer.

Chen Zhibin, deputy general manager of Grand Court International, said that with the cooperation of these four brands, his company has its sights set on becoming one of China’s top high-end brand operators. At the same time, the four French wineries who took part in the event will be able to increase their popularity and consumer base in China. The layout and atmosphere of the event reflected the strong culture and spirit of French wine, which garnered a great deal of praise from attendees.

Chengdu is regarded as a relatively new market for many foreign wine merchants. However, with the increasing spending power of local consumers and more favorable polices being enacted by the local government, more foreign wine producers are likely to target Chengdu as a major market among second-tier cities. But Chengdu isn’t without its difficulties. According to some reports, many fake wine brands are streaming into the Chengdu wine market. As more high-end foreign brands make their formal entrance to the city, though, and local wine lovers become more sophisticated, hopefully the market can become more mature and consolidated and eventually squeeze the counterfeiters out.

For new wine investors and collectors in Chengdu, wine experts say that not every foreign wine has the potential for collection and investment. Often, the wines that are worth collecting are those that have more limited production. Facing a vast array of imported wines, new investors and collectors should do their homework to become more product-savvy. As some wine experts have pointed out, it is imperative that Chinese wine enthusiasts become more familiar with well-known wine producers and overall market conditions.



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