Argentinian winery woos Chinese market with Asian aesthetic

GMT 09:22 2015 Monday ,06 July

Arab Today, arab today Argentinian winery woos Chinese market with Asian aesthetic

Argentina Seeks Chinese Investments
Buenos Aires - XINHUA

China's booming wine market has made Argentinian wineries scrambling to attract Chinese consumers by adopting a more Asian sense of aesthetics.

What is in the bottle remains the same high-quality wine that the South American country is famed for, while the labels and packaging try to cater to East Asian tastes in design, color, texture, typography and details.

Tierras Altas Winery, owned by Argentina's Vargas Arizu family and located in the wine-making region of west Mendoza province, is a case in point.

In an effort to win over consumers in China, the winery has developed a product it hopes the Chinese will find both visually attractive and pleasing to the palate.

"We heed what our importer asks for in that regard, that's why we adapted our packaging so that it will please the Chinese consumers," Tierras Altas Export Manager Juan Pablo Rodriguez Reta told Xinhua.

Rodriguez pointed to an innovative bottle, whose design was borrowed from high-end Californian wines, sealed with a synthetic sealing wax that is placed by hand, one at a time, instead of the standard foil or PVC caps of most standard bottles.

"We have developed a special packaging to cater to the Chinese market, at the suggestion of our distributor," explained Rodriguez.

Established in 2001, the winery produces 300,000 liters a year of the Malbec varietal Argentina is famous for, and began exporting to China in 2012.

"We want Malbec to continue entering (the Chinese market) and to do what we can to elevate not just varietals, but also the (specially aged) reserves and grand reserves," he added.

"The Chinese market has been a pleasant surprise. It was ranked in the 10th place for Argentinian exports, and in recent years it has ranked in the fourth or fifth place," said Rodriguez.

While Argentina is the world's fifth-largest producer of wine, it represents a scant 1.01 percent of China's wine imports, which have seen explosive growth of at least 400 percent in the past five years.

"We've had good results with our exports and now we are preparing a new shipment for the Chinese market, which basically wants Malbec," said Rodriguez.

Between 2010 and 2014, Argentina exported to China 83.2 million U.S. dollars worth of wine, 17.7 million of which was sold last year.

"We have shipped wines to Shanghai and Shenzhen, where we have entered the market very well," said Rodriguez Reta, who feels Argentina is at a disadvantage compared with countries that have free-trade agreements with China, which is expected to soon overtake the United States as the world's leading consumer of wine.

Does Argentina produce wine in sufficient quantities to meet the demand of China's growing market?

"It's a volume that can supply Chinese demand," he said, recommending Argentine businesses partner with their Chinese counterparts, as the French have done, to promote greater exchange.

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