News / Economy

California Winemakers Target China

California Winemakers Target Chinai
X
July 16, 2013
American wine producers have their eyes on China, where a growing middle class is drinking European and American wines. The United States exported just $74 million in wine to China in 2012, but exports are growing at nearly 20 percent a year. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Napa Valley, California, where vintners hope to see California Cabernets on Chinese dinner tables.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mike O'Sullivan
— American wine producers have their eyes on China, where a growing middle class is drinking wine. The United States exported just $74 million in wine to China in 2012, but exports are growing at nearly 20 percent a year.  Vintners in Napa Valley hope to see California Cabernets on Chinese dinner tables.

Producing Napa Valley wine is a highly skilled craft, and Chinese consumers are developing a taste for it, says Tom Hinde of Yao Family Wines, started by former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming.  

"We've made five vintages together," Hinde said. "Actually, we're working on the 2013 right here.  You can see that these grapes will be ripe sometime this fall, and we get to do it all over again.”

This is a small winery with a high-end product. Hinde strolls through its vineyards in Napa Valley, closely examining clusters of grapes.  He says all are Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, since the Chinese prefer red wine.  The winery's premium cabernet sells for $625 a bottle.

Napa's Black Stallion Winery also looks to China as a promising market, says the winery's Holly Evans.

“Most of our wine is sold here at the winery, although we do have two wines, a Black Stallion Estate Chardonnay and Cabernet, which are sold throughout the United States as well as in China,” she said.

Many moderately priced wines are also exported to China, including some from the San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles.  Fifteen percent of its production goes there.

Linsey Gallagher of The Wine Institute says the group receives constant inquiries.

“About 90 percent of those are coming in about China these days, and so it's a fascinating opportunity in China right now,” she said.

But she says China is a marketing challenge.

“They know a lot of the aspirational, iconic things about California, whether that's Hollywood in Southern California or the Golden Gate Bridge in Northern California or our previous governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. "By and large, they have no idea that California is the fourth largest wine producing region in the world and makes great quality wines at all price points.”

Winemakers hope to broaden the Chinese palate, and expand the market for fine dry wines, including whites, which are now a small part of the market.

Adam Beak of Bank of the West says the winemakers he works with are competing with European companies, which entered the China market decades ago.

“And they've developed a brand there.  They've developed a name, especially for the French companies on the fine wine side, they're developed a real strong market presence," he said. "The U.S. is still in its infancy.  We're still doing the basic pick and shovel work to get our name out there.”

Yet China's middle class is growing fast, and Tom Hinde of Yao Family Wines is optimistic that more Chinese consumers will develop a taste for imported wine.

“They'll want to drive certain cars, and they'll want to live in certain types of apartments and houses, and they'll want to wear certain clothes and enjoy certain types of wines,” he said.

And he hopes many of those wines will come from California.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 16, 2013 8:05 PM
So Chinese people already have been enjoyed wine imported from Europe. The challenges for Californian wine seems how it slashes into the marcket with its taste and price advantages.

In Japan, Californian wine as well as Chille and South African wine are recently getting more popular than French or Italian wine becasue they are a bit bitter and cheep.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.