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Wine dealers make splash at CIIE

dfscaller.com by Staff Writer07/11/2019  

A bottle of La Clape wine soon came under the spotlight after Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President  tasted it at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Tuesday.

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At the French pavilion, Xi had a sip of the red wine and beef together with Macron, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The two leaders were also photographed sharing a toast. French companies at the pavilion expressed hope that they could further expand their exports to China.

Xi also visited the booths of other countries, which displayed Italian wine, Tanzanian cashew nuts and Jamaican blue mountain coffee. 

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Alcoholic beverage is an important element at diplomatic occasions. During some of his state visits, Xi was also served fine local liquor. 

When he visited Italy in March, Italian President Sergio Mattarella served Xi   local wine, including Prosecco Millesimato Ludovica 5.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told China Central Television in 2014 that he celebrated his last birthday with Xi enjoying vodka and sandwiches.

“On my birthday, we drank a little vodka together,” Putin said. “We even had sandwiches like university students.”

During Xi‘s visit to the UK in 2015, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron invited him to Greene King‘s pub and drank beer and ate fish and chips. 

Chinese people are beginning to enjoy more imported wine as tastes evolve.

Wine merchants account for a large number of pavilions at this year‘s CIIE. Besides of French and Italian wine companies, which many Chinese customers are already familiar with, wine producers from lesser-known countries, such as Azerbaijan, are also eyeing the Chinese market. 

A wine producer from Azerbaijan said he signed up for last year‘s CIIE, where he met many Chinese buyers, which paved the way for his products. This year, he came with 25 other Azerbaijan exhibitors, hoping to see his wine sales soar again. 

Xu Jidan, a wine enthusiast, noted that a major challenge for the imported wine market is that good and bad are mixed up, which makes it difficult for customers to pick the right or good wine. 

Xu said that to cater to consumers, many innovative ways, such as artificial intelligence technology, have come in handy in wine promotion. Wine dealers are using big data and AI technologies to make a smart wine cellar, which can recommend wine according to each customer‘s needs.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China imported 2.86 billion yuan ($404 million) of wine in 2018, which accounted for 49.5 percent of imported total liquor and alcoholic beverage, the Xinhua News Agency reported.