Using data from Chinese Customs, Meininger’s Wine Business International has provided some insights into bottled wine imports into China.
“In terms of volume, Customs reported 6.44m cases from January through March 2012, an increase of 15% over the 5.60m cases that arrived during the same period in 2011,” Meininger’s reported, stating that the big winner was France, whose share by volume rose from 44.4% in the first quarter of 2011 to 48.8% this year.
“France also saw its share of value rise to 59.5%, with an average of €43.30 per case over the same period. In other words, France is speeding ahead of the industry averages when it comes to bottled wine imports.”
However, the 15% increase has disappointed some observers who had hoped for more growth.
Alberto Fernandez, managing partner of wine importer and distributor Torres China, and Campbell Thompson, who heads distributor The Wine Republic, both told Meininger’s Wine Business International that they anticipated a slowdown in the volume of imported bottled wine.
“Such sentiments suggest a view that the market was due for a correction, rather than a panicky ‘the bubble is bursting’ sentiment, which makes sense given that import volume and value did grow this year.
“‘The fact is levels of wine stocks are generally high across the country, so growth is bound to slow, and we may even go down a notch,’ says Thomas Jullien, who runs consultancy Pilot Fish and is the Asia representative for the Bordeaux Wine Council. ‘But these are all normal adjustments after a breakneck run, the ‘correction’ that economists talk about.’”