New Emissary

Dynamic Wine Times

It’s a dynamic time for wine, bringing interesting trends to the Asia-Pacific.

I mentioned earlier some negative news surrounding the global wine industry. But new major trends are also continually bringing about interesting developments that shouldn’t be missed at such dynamic times.

For instance, right now something’s making winemakers in California ‘tipsy with anticipation,’ and that is, according to a recent piece in the Mercury news, reports from Beijing that China’s growing middle class are now ‘replacing the long-popular baijiu grain liquor and beer…with French Bordeaux and Napa Valley zinfandels.’ We’ve been hearing about the Chinese wine boom for months now, and it seems there’s no stopping the East Asian nation’s affinity for foreign wines.

According to statistics from the US Department of Commerce, wine exports to China rose from 6 million in 2005 to 35.6 million in 2009; meaning sales grew over 5 times in under 5 years. And with China’s consumption rate for foreign wines expected to continue expanding, there’s no surprise US wine producers are ambling to get a piece of that market pie.

Meanwhile, a new survey conducted on Asian women and their wine preferences, as reported by the Independent last week, makes for some interesting ‘colour revelations.’ 2,810 women from China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea were polled and some key results include that a surprising 84 percent of Chinese women prefer red to white wine. I wonder if this has to do with the time of the year that the survey was done, and if answers would have been different after a few humid summer months. But, nonetheless, according to Vinexpo (which carried out the survey) this is completely the opposite of what happened when wine first began to gain large-scale popularity in the US decades ago. Other results from this poll pointed out another reason why so many Asian women have been drawn to wine recently—86 percent of all of the women participants believe that ‘drinking wine helps maintain a balanced diet.’

Also on this topic is a piece from the New Zealand Herald earlier this month that caught my eye. It suggested that in New Zealand, ‘girl power is alive and well and flourishing in the local wine industry,’ pointing out that not only are there more and more great wines being produced by women in the country, but that since the spirit is one that ‘relates to food, friendship and frivolity,’ it makes for a perfect product for the many women who hold careers and can afford the new ‘luxury.’