Aussie wine in China needs rethink
AUSTRALIA should promote expensive wines in China to change a perception that Australian wine is cheap and therefore not good.
Australian wine exports to China were worth $181 million in 2010-11, well up from $21 million in 2005-06, figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) show.
Professor Zhangyue Zhou, Director for the Centre for AusAsia Business Studies at James Cook University, said there had been a shift from strong liquor consumption to wine among the Chinese in recent years, with red wine considered a status symbol.
"Red wine consumption is likely to continue to increase," he told the ABARES two-day Outlook 2012 conference in Canberra today.
Prof Zhangyue said there were significant export opportunities for Australian wine makers in China, but the product suffered from an image problem because mostly cheap Australian wine was sold in China.
"As a country we are not doing a good job of promoting our wine to the Chinese market," he said.
"I think that's damaging to our wine reputation.
"Because in China, if (a product) is cheap, normally people will believe its not good.
Chinese consumers were not mature consumers, he added.
"They often associate their consumption to status, not to whether they enjoy the quality of the product."