The EU SME Centre has interviewed three wine experts in China on their analysis of the market and its evolution over the past few years. The case studies made possible by these interviews are now available below. With this publication, we aim to guide EU wine producers and distributors when they select their positioning and marketing strategies.
Michele Taccetti on Exporting Wine, Forging Alliances, and Branding
Michele Taccetti, CEO of China 2000 Srl, and Tuscany Region Promoter with the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce – CICC, has been doing business in the Chinese market for three decades.
He saw the evolution from trading agencies and pure import-export activities having a prominent role to today’s direct cooperation among producers, distributors, and consumers, as well as with universities, institutions, and educational institutions.
On wine, he sees the current market undergoing a “self-adjustment” phase, with a focus on imports shifting towards higher quality and more expensive wines. He emphasises, however, that the success of an imported wine in China is often based on the marketing, branding, and commercial strategy.
Simone Semprini on Local Consumption Habits and Trends
Simone Semprini is a professional sommelier trained in Italy and London. Based in China since 2013, he is the Shanghai Area Manager of VM Fine Wines.
Mr Semprini has observed the profile and tastes of consumers evolving in China over the past decade, with a growing number of women approaching the wine market and less emphasis placed on food pairing than in Europe, as wine in China is often drunk on its own, as a standalone beverage.
He has witnessed a highly defined mapping of Chinese wine regions and wineries. Among these, many are focusing their efforts on natural, biological and organic wines.
To promote wines in China, Mr Semprini organises dinners with Chinese professionals and consumers, featuring wines from a single winery or multiple wineries, e.g. from a single region or from an entire country. He considers the concept of Geographical Indication is extremely important but also highly complex. According to Mr Semprini, consumers’ overall awareness of geographical indication in China is not as strong as other countries. Distributors should thus adopt simple and clear strategies to convey the quality and status of their wines.
Francesco D’Aprile on Live E-Commerce Sales and Working with KOLs
Francesco D’Aprile is a partner at P&D Consulting. Most of his firm’s clients come from the agri-food sector, especially wine, but also olive oil and traditional foods from the Italian southern region of Puglia.
When the Chinese market started to consume more at home, aided by the world-class level of Chinese e-commerce and the emergence of new trends in livestreaming and social e-commerce, Mr D’Aprile saw these changes as marking a durable shift. For this reason, he decided revolutionise his company’s business model in China, to focus on e-commerce and enlist the participation of KOLs.
To represent online his client the winery Cantine Polvanera, he created for them an official account on Douyin. He selected a Chinese influencer based in the Dolomites region in northern Italy who was very knowledgeable about wine. The KOL now sells through ad hoc live sessions, often streamed from the winery’s cellar or during grape harvest season.
Ask Your Questions to Wine Experts on Exporting to China
Join our free webinar on 18 January 2024 to get an overview of our recent report on China’s wine market and discuss directly with experts.
The three wine professionals featuring in our case studies will participate in the event and answer questions from the audience.