Taste Italy! Wine Business Conference in Wine2Wine

Recently, being invited by Silvana Ballotta CEO of Business Strategies and Taste Italy! China, Wang Zuming, general vice secretary to China Alcohol Bureau, general secretary of China alcohol Bureau- Wine division and Weng Tao vice general manager at Shanghai Morning Post (Shanghai United Media), chief producer of Shanghai Wine and Dine Festival had attended the conference sponsored by BS Italy during W2W In Italy, the focus of the conference is“Italian wine market in China: what are the outcomes?”

Italy is one of the biggest wine producers in the world, according to data published by OIV, Italy’s wine production has reached 50 million litter in 2015, becoming the biggest wine producting country in the world, in 2016, Italy has remains in the same position. But the market share of Italian wine in China is not as high, it comes only after France, Australia, Chile and Spain, Wang Zuming pointed out during the conference, : “Italian wines are poorly promoted and still not well-known. For example, I know Barolo and Prosecco only. Your competitors arrived to China earlier, understood the market and now own the most of it. Though, there is still space in the market, the cake hasn’t been completely eaten yet. Thus, there are opportunities for Italy as well”

The top 3 export marketing for Italian wines are USA, Germany and the UK, Italian wines enjoys bigger market share in those markets than French wines, it can be concluded that Italy is the leading power in mature wine market. It is also a tendency that we can began to observe in the wine market in Shanghai, Italians wines provides great varieties and vast options among medium range wines, therefore Italian wines brings a more diverse drinking experience and better value- price ratio to consumers in matured market. Big corporations also tend to established representatives/ branches in matured market and invest more in marketing and communication. Italian wines offer a better value-price ratios but appears to be less competitive in low range bottled wines, this is also the reason why Italy ranks # 5 in imported wines in China.

There are more than 20 regions across the north to the south in Italy that produce wines, the number of wineries are enormous, who plants not only the internationally recognized grapes like Carbernet, Shardony, but also over 500 italian native grape varieties, Italy also has multiple denominations, the lenght and complexity of names make Italian wines difficult to understand, even for the well known Amarone della Valpolicella and Brunello di Montalcino, their Chinese translation are still difficult to remember. This is one factor that keeps the distance between Italian wines and Chinese consumers. To simplify Italian wines names is an important step in popularize Italian wines in China. Shanghai Wine and Dine Festival Chief Producer Weng Tao said: ”French people knew how to localize their product to the market, by adopting Chinese names with an evocative meaning, which are simple and easy to remember, such as Chardonnay that in China is called “sunset pearl”. That’s a strategy that Italian procuders could adopt as well,in the mean time, he also pointed out that , Shanghai is perhaps the most interesting area to explore, given the high number of restaurants and the capability of this city to capture new trends.

A big challenge also means a big opportunity, although the imported volume of Italian wines in China is to be improved, but the future looks bright. Italian wines has been gaining its popularity among professional and wine lovers in China, more and more wine traders has added Italian wines to their portfolio, there have also been more communication and educational activities focused on Italian wines.  Silvana Ballotta mentioned that: “Education is a key point for the success of Italian wines in China, this is the main reason why we decided to found the Taste Italy! Wine Academy, the first wine course only focused on Italian wines in China. Taste Italy! Wine Academy keeps regular classes in Shanghai and is starting to spread all over China, like in Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, QingDao, and we expect to grow more and more, through partnership and cooperation. our main goal to simplify and show to Chinese wine consumers the high quality and great value of Italian Wines. “

The demands for Italian wines is expected to increase as the wine knowledge, preference in taste and purchasing powers continue to improve in China. Italian wines institution and wineries should seize the great opportunity presented in Chinese market, also this market is very complicated, but we believe that with Italian lifestyle and culture prestige, and stronger and more consistent effort in Italian wine communication as well as patience the market will pay back the effort with positive results.