Dialogue with Master on China Food & Drinks Fair: How Long Will It Take to create A World-famous Chateau in China
Dialogue with Master: world’s top wine can be brewed in China
China has become a hotbed of world’s wine industry. According to the estimate of France’s National Center, in the future five years, the cultivated area of grape in China will be doubled and China will become the largest wine producer in the world.
Li Hua, the famous domestic wine expert and deputy president of North West Agriculture and Forestry University, said that after several decades of development, ten major producing areas like Bohai Gulf, Xinjiang, Northeast, Yunnan, Yellow River old riverway, etc. have been gradually formed in China, which, with different characteristics in soil, climate, landform, etc., have gradually formed their distinctive wine grape variety, planting pattern and wine product. In the past century, Bohai Gulf Producing Area has been an excellent producing area with the largest cultivated area of wine grape. However, in recent years, the Western Producing Area with East Piedmont of Ningxia Helan Mountain as the representative has an eye-catching performance in the globe; the wine industry of Western Producing Area has showed a tendency of rapid growth.
“Even Lafite established chateau in Yantai, is there still doubt that China could not brew good wine?” Li Hua said, in recent years, the producing areas of good wine grapes in China have been the target of international wine giants. Except for Lafite, Moët Hennessy Group has developed vineyards in Ningxia and Yunnan; Spain Torres and France Pernod Ricard Group have developed vineyards in Ningxia.
At present, Count John U Salvi MW holds the office of chairman of England Wine and Spirit Association and he is one of the most senior masters of wine in the world. Last year, he visited several producing areas of wine grape, such as Yantai, Beijing, Xinjiang, Ningxia, etc. alone and stopped in Xinjiang to hold the post of honorary owner and chief winemaker of Chateau Changyu Baron Balboa. “With vast territory and abundant resources, China has various natural terroirs with distinctive features. I have visited the chateau of Lafite in Penglai, Yantai as well as the vineyard of Changyu, what I have seen makes me believe that China is fully capable of producing top wine to rival that from world-famous producing area.”
“I don’t know why the Chinese have no confidence in their own land but purchase chateau in France. In my opinion, Ningxia is the next Napa Valley.” Lenz Moser, the chief winemaker of Chateau Changyu Moser XV Ningxia, said: “When I first came to China, I only went to Yantai Producing Area, later, Ningxia Producing Area is an eye-opener for me, it never occurred to me that grapes can be planted at the place with an elevation of 1100 meters, where the average sunshine time is more than
Li Hua pointed out that excellent producing areas have its own traits in land and cultural environment, for example, Ningxia Producing Area is at high altitude with a little rainfall, the grapes basically have no diseases and insect pests, however, insecticide has to be sprayed in Bordeaux Region; on this point, Ningxia is better than Bordeaux.
How Long Will It Take to create A World-famous Chateau in China?
In the past decade, Chinese wine chateaus flourished, forming three chateau groups in Yantai, East Piedmont of Helan Mountain and North Piedmont of Tianshan Mountain. Then, among so many chateaus, which has the opportunity to become the Chinese top chateau of Lafite level? How long will it take?
Salvi expressed, “China shall be patient with its own land, time stands on the side of the Chinese.” He thought that stringent grading system of producing areas was critical to the generation of French top chateau. China had started to carry out the grading system of producing areas, many producing areas with unique terroir would have greater development opportunity.
Moser thought that with the accumulation of experience in connection with land and the increase of age of vine, Chinese wines would have better and better performance, a world top chateau must appear in China in the next decade.” His evidence was that the chateaus built by the international giants like Lafite in China would gradually become mature in the next decade. In addition, Chateau Changyu Moser XV had good quality already, given more time, with the coming of gold age of vine, and this wine will reach the world top wine level.
In the view of Jancis Robinson, the English master of wine and one of the three wine critics in the world, Chinese producing areas would become mature in the next five years. She published articles in British Financial Times and American Time successively to introduce the history and producing areas of Chinese wine and praised one dry red wine from China Chateau Changyu Moser XV Ningxia as “the best wine in China”.
In March 2013, BBR Company, the vintner employed by British royalty, officially announced to provide permanent shelf position for four Changyu wines, which respectively came from Chateau Changyu Moser XV and Changyu Golden Valley Icewine Chateau. At present, there are only 312 masters of wine in the world, seven of which work at BBR Company. Products entering BBR Company for sales have to undergo the strict sifting of these seven masters, thus with great difficulty. Meanwhile, Changyu Golden Valley Ice Wine has also entered Burj al Arab Hotel, the only seven-star hotel in the world, this is the first time of this hotel to introduce the wine from Asia, which is absolutely a highly recognition of the quality of Chinese wines.
However, Li Hua thought, “To be sure, China has owned its top chateaus, such as several chateaus of Changyu for sales in Europe. However, a single flower does not make a spring. Chateaus of this level are still too few, only when various producing areas in China have the chateaus combined with the characteristics of the producing area and showing the style of the producing area as well as the chateau groups have been formed can we say that producing areas in China have reached the level of world top chateau.”
“Just as the experts say, world top wine surely can be brewed in China, we have the confidence in the producing areas; in term of equipment, China is the biggest importer of the most advanced equipment in the world and its degree of informatization and modernization are even higher than that of many enterprises in Europe; thirdly, Changyu has gathered a team of domestic and foreign winemakers with rich experience to brew high-level wine for Changyu. What we have to do is to guarantee the quality, do not cut the corner and be loyal to the land in China to fully dig and express the terroir and deliver to the world.” Zhou Hongjiang, the general manager of Changyu Company said that the international sales network of Changyu has achieved initial success, with wines sold in international high-end consumer places like Waitrose High-end Supermarket, the supplier of British royalty, BBR, the vintner of British royalty and Dubai Seven-star Durj al Arab Hotel to win the recognition of European wine critics, vintners and consumers. Chinese consumers should have more confidence in Changyu wine instead of simple superstition in foreign products.
Wang Qi, vice chairman and secretary of China Alcoholic Drinks Association, said, “Chinese wine enterprises shall join hands to create the confidence in Chinese producing areas. Only mightiness of industry can lead to the powerful position of China in global wine industry.”
Century-old Brand “Grow Inversely” to Promote Over 50 Fashion Wines
On Chengdu Food & Drinks Fair, Changyu Company launched over 50 new fashion wines of 17 series at one go to satisfy the different taste preference of the young consumers.
Chen Zhuang, expert of wine, said that with the rapid rise of Chinese young consumer group, wine had become the symbol of the young to express their life style. According to the statistics, there were about 0.28 Billion people in the generation after 80s in China. Influenced by the factors like life style and growth and study experience, this young group had high consumption freedom and without concepts bounded by the tradition, more and more people liked wine, they would represent the future development direction of liquor.
Therefore, Changyu had high hopes on the newly-launched fashion products. In Changyu exhibition hall of Food & Drinks Fair, over 50 products newly launched by Changyu were placed on the relatively prominent positions of the exhibition hall, which, in terms of packaging, were full of modern sense and fashionable temperament compared with the past products of Changyu. Zhou Hongjiang showed that those products were young consumer group-oriented, thus the product orientation was relatively fashionable; in addition, these products were of high cost performance and of price within One Hundred Yuan. This was a great change of Changyu for the mass market.
At the beginning of this year, the research of International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) showed that China (including Hong Kong Region) had consumed 0.155 Billion boxes (9L/Box) of red wine in 2013 and surpassed France and Italy to become the largest red wine consumer in the world. This research also showed that over 80% of red wine consumed by China was brewed in China, China had become the fifth largest wine producer in the world. However, the Chinese wine import has been increasing, with an increase of 7 times from 2007 to 2013.
To respond to the requirement of the consumers, Changyu also launched three imported wine brands on this Food & Drinks Fair, Donelli, wine brand of famous family in Italy, PLAIMONT of Southwest Producing Area in France and wine of ROULLET-FRANSAC purchased in cognac core area of France.
General Manager of Changyu Sending Out First Order in “Wine Pioneer” E-commerce
On this Food & Drinks Fair, Changyu announced that “Wine Pioneer”, its e-commerce site, officially went online, based on Changyu-series products, the products sold would cover various alcohol products like wine, brandy, health care wine, imported wine, white spirit, rice wine, etc., thus providing the consumers with one-stop liquor purchase experience service.
On the site of Food & Drinks Fair, Zhou Hongjiang, as the general manager of Changyu Company, personally sent out the first order after “Wine Pioneer” went online, which indicated the emphasis on e-commerce.
It was reported that the Chinese e-commerce sales of wine reached 7.3 Billion Yuan in 2013, more than twice of that in 2012.
Zhou Hongjiang said that e-commerce was an irrevocable trend, which would become the future core development strategy of Changyu. Therefore, Changyu would integrate various resources to promote the development of “Wine Pioneer” e-commerce site with all strength, making it leading vertical liquor e-commerce site in China. Insiders thought that this marked that Chinese traditional wine enterprise officially marched towards e-commerce.
However, there have been many sizable vertical liquor e-commerce sites in China; is it too late for Changyu “Wine Pioneer” to enter now?
Zhou Hongjiang thought that as a century-old enterprise in producing wine, Changyu could better understand the requirements of the consumers compared with the pure e-commerce enterprises. What’s more, they had a good convenient condition, that is, they had own logistics centers in each province of China, which helped them to solve an important problem in e-commerce trade, that is, how to provide the consumers with faster and more convenient logistics service.
Zhou Hongjiang revealed that they were promoting the construction of national system of exclusive shops including over 200 shops at present and with the goal of 1000 shops. With the promotion of exclusive shops, Changyu would try O2O sales model to achieve the combination of online and offline, exclusive shop not only acted as a retail shop, but also an online experience platform and distribution center.