The Chinese and Wine

When people get rich, their consumption patterns change.  Case in point: the consumption of fine Bordeaux wines in China.  The economic boom there has made it financially possible for those people who have benefited most from a growing economy there to splurge on expensive bottles of wine that regularly retail for hundreds of dollars.  Chinese tastes are evolving, as are all of ours, and becoming more global.  With that, they’re getting ever thirstier for fancy grape juice.

And that’s not all they want.  Demand for wine over the past three decades in the west has remained globally stagnant, and the industry, as a result, has been hard hit.  The growth coming from China has represented a godsend for the French vintners, and, in some cases, it has led to the Chinese buying old, famous established vineyards in Pomerol and St. Emilion near Bordeaux.  The Chinese investors have purchased several wine making properties in the region, and that trend looks as if its set to continue.

Now, I want to do a bit of interpretation here.  The first tendency that Americans might display in this case would be ‘Oh dear God, they’re buying everything.’  Yes, the Chinese are buying a lot of assets globally, but that shouldn’t be something that scares us, it’s something that we should welcome.  The more that China globalizes, the more interconnected they’re going to be with the rest of the world, which is a process that benefits all of us.

And, there’s another important benefit to this: many of the vineyards had been on the ropes financially before their acquisition by Chinese investors.  Now, with fresh injections of capital, guaranteed access to Chinese markets, these properties that would have otherwise gone under now have a new lease on life and look ready to produce high-quality wines for years and years to come that would otherwise have disappeared.  Everyone wins.  This is just another example of how the world, despite whatever differences we have with one another, can always be brought together through good food and drink.  Cheers!

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