News Special Coverage Industry Overview Supply & Demand Price Reference Forum

Mutual Chinese French Wine Influences Have Leaped In Four Decades by Tom Mullen24/06/2019  

Seven years ago, famed Chinese actress Zhao Wei was made an inductee at the renowned and robed jurade (‘brotherhood of wine’) ceremony in the French Bordeaux village of Saint-émilion. This order of oenophiles was first established in the year 1199. In May of this year, Sue Zhang was also inducted into the jurade. While Wei is the owner of Chateau Monlot, Zhang is the general director who ensures that day to day operations of this wine estate run smoothly.

This ceremonial welcoming of Chinese nationals into Saint-émilion’s historical wine order reflects growing bonds between these countries.

According to The Wine Cellar Insider, less than forty years ago China’s interest in wine was effectively unnoticeable. In 1982 China purchased some $10,000 of Bordeaux wine; in the following years Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages sold 20,000 cases of wine to Cathay Pacific Airlines, penetrating the Asian market and increasing the prominence of Bordeaux wines and brands in Asia.

When Hong Kong eliminated their 40% tax on imported wines in 2008, the floodgates opened for China to import wines, including French. As more wines flowed from France to China, more Chinese nationals also began purchasing French wine estates.

As of April this year, according to an estimate made by Vineyards Bordeaux, approximately 175 Bordeaux wine estates (or about 2%) are now Chinese owned.

In April, a South China Morning Post written by Elaine Yau tells of how Chang Kwok of Hong Kong received, when he was 25-years old in 2012, the gift of a four-hectare (10-acre) Pomerol chateau in Bordeaux from his billionaire father. His family now owns seven vineyards in Bordeaux (including Bellefont-Belcier and Haut-Brisson).