Bordeaux ups its game in China

As Australia continues to suffer from punitive sanctions applied by Beijing, France’s biggest region moves to regain its dominance of the wine market. Natalie Wang of Vino Joy News reports.

Credit: chungking -
Credit: chungking -

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) has opened a representative office in Shanghai, as it ramps up efforts to drive Bordeaux exports in mainland China, taking advantage of the absence of competitors from tariff-hit Australia.
The opening of the office comes at a time when France has replaced Australia to take back its place as China’s biggest wine exporter.

France’s wine imports in the first half of 2021 enjoyed a 57 percent increase in value and a 16.6 percent increase in volume over the same period last year, pushing up its market share in China to over 40%.
The new office headed by Morgane Yang aims to establish more communication channels to facilitate sales and commerce, introducing more modern and affordable Bordeaux wines to the Chinese market, according to the trade association.

Not just Crus Classés

As CIVB President Bernard Farges explains at the opening of the office, Bordeaux will be pivoting to introduce better value Bordeaux wines to the Chinese market, a new strategy to diversify the region’s range beyond the classified growths.
“CIVB will put more efforts in promotion in China and bring in Bordeaux wines of more styles, of more value, and suitable to various consumer groups,” says the association.


CIVB President Bernard Farges / Credit: CIVB


The trade organisation which represents over 7,000 members and producers will launch a series of events to introduce Bordeaux wines to link them to different Chinese regional cuisine. Female wine drinkers and younger consumers will be targeted to showcase “young, modern, simple, and sustainable” Bordeaux wines.

The strategic change in promotion according to the association also reflects Bordeaux’s changing viticulture and winemaking styles.

The Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) has approved six new grape varieties to be used in Bordeaux wines as a way to combat global warming. Inside wine cellars, more and more winemakers are using concrete vats or amphorae for example to maximize the preservation of natural fruitiness from grapes rather than barriques; for packaging, labels are more colourful and eye-catching Today, 75% of the region’s vineyards have a sustainable certification.
Fighting fakes

The opening of the new office also seems likely to assist in the CIVB’s increasingly close collaboration with local Chinese authorities in the fight against counterfeit Bordeaux wines in the Chinese market. The impact of these efforts was reflected in the recent busting of China’s biggest fake Bordeaux operation that involved RMB300m ($46.5m) of counterfeit Bordeaux.

Bordeaux obtained GI recognition for ‘BORDEAUX 波尔多’ in 2012 in China and the CIVB has been applying intellectual property rights for close to 50 Bordeaux GIs within China’s legal framework since 2011. 

Natalie Wang

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