Italian winemakers take on France in Chinese market

Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:46am EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Cathy Yang

HONG Kong (Reuters) - Move over Lafite, the mighty Barolo is here.

That's what Italian winemakers are telling their French colleagues who have, in the years of China's ascent to economic prosperity, dominated the Chinese market with their Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages.

Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, a prominent Italian winemaker, is gearing up to please discerning palates in China, which remains a key market for wine firms.

"The Chinese consumers are becoming more and more demanding," said Lamberto Frescobaldi, whose best wines come from an array of appellations in Tuscany.

"They're looking for diversities of taste. The palate gets more curious. The Chinese palate is pretty much like that," he told Reuters. "I love Bordeaux ... But then you want to look at something else. Italy, the wines are a little bit more personal."

Frescobaldi said his winery's sales to greater China, including Hong Kong, saw a 20 percent jump this year due to increasing demand for vintages such as Ornellaia and Masseto.

Sales to China still rank ninth in the winery's global sales, but Frescobaldi hopes to raise this to number three over the next six to ten years.

The increasing demand for Italian premium wines has taken the sheen off top Bordeaux in the London International Vintners Exchange or Liv-ex, an exchange for investment-grade wine based in London.   Continued...

 
American wine and cigar critic James Suckling (table 12 top R) and guests toast at the 'Great Wines of Italy' gala dinner at Island Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong in this handout photo taken December 5, 2012. The increasing demand overall for Italian premium wines has taken the sheen off top Bordeaux in the London International Vintners Exchange or Liv-ex, an exchange for investment-grade wine based in London. Picture taken December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Hong Kong Tatler and James Suckling/Handout