Whilst to some people, Bordeaux and Beijing might seem as if they are worlds apart, the reality is that these two cities have become more and more intertwined as of late. Sales of the French city’s wines have risen dramatically over the past year; however it’s not the French that are consuming it, but the Chinese. Imperial Wines of London have noticed that in the last twelve months, China has become of Bordeaux’s top export destinations; this development is especially surprising when one considers how little wine was consumed in China up until a few years ago.
Today, more than thirty chateaux in France have been purchased by investors from China, and there are rumours that another twenty are likely to be snapped up in the near future. This interest in the fine wine of France is part of a trend of Chinese interest across the European continent, with investors hoping to meet domestic demand for high end wines. Given that China has a population of over one billion it’s little wonder that the rising demand there has had such a significant impact on the fine wine market.
In Saint-Emilion, the technical director of one of the region’s most prestigious vineyards, Chateau Angelus, says that he has noticed a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese investors attending their wine tastings. The director, Emmanuelle d’Alignby-Fulchi, believes this to be a very positive development, as wealthy investors are good for business. The French economy has been suffering recently, due to the Eurozone debt crisis, and as such, Imperial Wines of London note, China’s growing tastes for high end French wine could not have come at a better time. Alex Hall who runs a company named Vineyard Intelligence agrees with Emmanuelle, adding that the investment from the Chinese is providing the traditional industries in France with some much needed support.
In terms of specific sales figures, Imperial Wines of London read that Bordeaux’s total revenues reached £3.7billion last year, up ten percent in value and two percent in volume on the previous twelve months, according to the Bordeaux Wine Bureau CIVB. The president of the organisation George Haushalter, says that not only have the Chinese been buying up Bordeaux wines, they have also begin to purchase vineyards. In the last five years, Haushalter adds, Chinese investors and consumers have taken a huge interest in this particular wine region. Currently, China now accounts for more than 71million sales of Bordeaux wine per year.