China’s wine market is experiencing significant growth, attracting international wine producers who recognize its vast potential. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, as the country’s largest wine-producing area, has become a prominent player on the global wine map after more than four decades of development. The International Conference on Grape and Wine Industries, along with the China (Ningxia) International Wine Culture and Tourism Expo, recently concluded in the region.
During the exhibition in Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia, 75 wineries from 16 countries and regions showcased their new products in a dedicated area for international wine brands. Cem Ozdemir, the Minister of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, expressed his confidence in the German wines’ ability to captivate visitors and potentially strengthen bilateral trade relations in the wine sector with China.
Themed “Nature, Innovation, Culture, and Ecology,” the event provided a unique platform for exploring new growth models in the global wine industry and fostering international cooperation opportunities. Representatives from enterprises in the industry from over 30 countries and four international organizations were invited to participate in the expo. Mauricio Hurtado, the Chilean ambassador to China, highlighted China’s status as one of the largest importers of Chilean wines, with numerous Chilean companies and brands successfully establishing a presence in the Chinese market over the past two decades.
With over 1.4 billion people in China striving to build a modern socialist country, the potential for wine consumption is immense. China imported wine worth $1.44 billion last year alone. Tang Renjian, China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, emphasized the country’s emergence as one of the most dynamic markets for the global wine industry, with nearly 1 million liters of wine being imported daily.
Besides traditional wine powerhouses, African countries are also targeting the thriving Chinese market. Thoko Didiza, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of the Republic of South Africa, emphasized the importance of wine culture, education, and national brand development in expanding South African wine’s presence in China. The growing Chinese middle class and their increasing appreciation for wine present a significant opportunity for South African wine producers.
Ningxia’s abundant sunshine and cool, dry climate have greatly contributed to the region’s grape cultivation. With its unique terroir, Ningxia has attracted 228 wineries from both domestic and international markets. In 2022, the region produced 138 million bottles of wine. Although a latecomer compared to members of the International Organization of Vine and Wine, China has been making its mark in the wine industry. At the Decanter World Wine Awards 2023, Chinese wines from 14 different regions received a record number of medals. Ningxia stood out, securing around 40 percent of the medals and leading in terms of quality among Chinese wine regions.
Pernod Ricard, a French-based brand, established a branch in Ningxia in 2012, investing in vineyards and production facilities. The company has demonstrated its confidence and commitment to the Chinese market by building its own winery in China, along with a whisky plant and reception center in Sichuan Province. With the post-COVID-19 market recovery and the growing popularity of “China Chic,” Chinese wines are gaining attention. Pernod Ricard aims to continue improving wine quality and contribute to the domestic industry’s goal of “Chinese Wine, Surprise the World” in collaboration with local wineries in China.