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Country's wine joins best-sellers

China Daily by ANGUS MCNEICE18/08/2017  

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Bottles of wines on display at a supermarket in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, March 31, 2013. [Photo/VCG]

Two Chinese winemakers were among the world's top 10 best-selling wine brands in 2016, according to recently published data, as Britain's two biggest supermarket chains begin stocking Chinese wine.

A list compiled by UK trade publication The Drinks Business had China's Changyu as the fourth best-selling wine brand, by volume. It sold 15 million cases, which was the same volume it sold in 2015.

Beijing-based Great Wall was the 10th best-selling brand. It sold 7 million cases in 2016, down from 7.8 million in 2015. United States brand Barefoot was the best-selling product last year, selling 22.5 million cases.

Chinese wine consumption rose by 7 percent last year, and The Drinks Business estimates that, by 2020, China will have surpassed the UK to become the second-most-valuable wine market, behind the US.

Changyu and Great Wall dominate domestic consumption in China, and the companies are making inroads into the international market. Great Wall owns brands in Chile and France, while Changyu exports to several major European markets, including the UK.

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Changyu's wine cellar in Beijing, Dec 13, 2010. [Photo/VCG]

This year, the UK's two leading supermarket chains, Tesco and Sainsbury's, began selling mid-range Changyu wines, starting at 7 pounds ($9) a bottle. UK wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has had four Changyu wines in permanent stock since 2013.

Chris Mercer, online editor for wine magazine Decanter, said the appearance of affordable Chinese wines in the UK comes as supermarkets look to import more wines from outside the eurozone.

"You are seeing the exchange rate between sterling and the euro becomes really unfavorable," Mercer said.

"Everyone has realized that China is producing a shedload of wine, and the general consensus is that the quality is getting better."

In January, Sainsbury's began stocking Changyu Noble Dragon Red Cabernet Gernischt at an introductory price of 8 pounds a bottle.