Australian wine has been declared the outright winner in the Chinese market this year, according to food and agribusiness lender Rabobank. China has surpassed both the UK and the USA to become the biggest importer of Australian wines in the world. Between June 2018 and July 2019 more than US$ 845 million worth of wine was exported to China a figure almost triple that of the wine imported by the USA. While the ongoing USA/China trade war and the horrendous crop the French wine industry experienced in 2017 contribute to the increase in Australian imports, the outstanding quality of Aussie wine is also a driving factor.
What’s the deal with the Aussie appeal?
Frank Pan, owner of distributor Wollemi highlighted the impressive quality of Aussie wine by stating: “Most Australian wines have a good quality standard. It’s easy to drink, very upfront and you don’t need to cellar it for a long time.” Australia is also known to make use of grapes such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Shiraz that consumers are already familiar with and bottle them as a single variety instead of a mystifying blend. Due to this, the labels on Australian wines are typically a lot easier to read and understand than imports from countries such as France and Italy. Another reason why Australian wine is so popular in China is the country’s excellent reputation for food safety which has proven to be a great concern of the Chinese.
Reds are a hot favorite
Although a lot of superb white wines are produced in the country, Australian red wine is truly in a league of its own. Upon conducting some research it was found that all ten of the most-searched Australian wines by Chinese shoppers are, in fact, red. Right at the top of the list is the immensely popular Penfolds Bin 389 (which costs in the region of $89 a bottle). The 389 is officially known as the ‘Baby Grange’ thanks to it being matured in barrels that housed Grange previously. The Cabernet-shiraz blend not only delivers a unique richness but a well-structured and elegant depth as well which makes it a popular choice among red wine connoisseurs.
More than one brand stands out
Penfolds is not the only popular Australian wine in China. Offerings from Hunter Valley, Margaret River, and Irvine also continue to gain popularity among wine drinkers. The Irvine Grand Merlot, which is the winery’s flagship wine, is one of the best in its class and is the result of over 35 years of dedication to Merlot in Australia’s Eden Valley. The Chinese seem to love this Grand Merlot as well as one of Australia’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons, the Penfolds Bin 707, and a delightful Cabernet, the Penfolds Bin 407.
The USA/China trade war might have been detrimental to many, but the Australian wine industry definitely benefited from it. As long as Australia continues to produce superb wine, countries such as China will proceed to import it in large quantities.