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wine education ‘critical component’ of promoting Italian wine in China by NATALIE WANG07/03/2023  


Italian Trade Agency (ITA) is cautiously optimistic about Chinese wine market this year following China’s swift reopening, as it kicks off its tailor-made wine and spirits courses for the country’s wine trade in anticipation of market rebound.

Underlining that Italian wine education as “a critical component” of promoting Italian wine in China, Federica Galli, Deputy Director of ITA Beijing Office, emphasizes that the ITA’s tailor-made wine and spirits courses targeting China’s wine trade offers a unique commercial and business perspective in addition to traditional Italian wine knowledge.   

Federica Galli, Deputy Director of Italian Trade Agency Beijing Office (pic: ITA)

This year’s program kicked off with Lanzhou in northwestern China last month and will cover more Chinese cities throughout the year such as Beijing, Dalian, Jinan, and Taiyuan.

Launched in 2016, the government supported education program was set out to train and empower China’s fast-growing wine trade. Up till now, it has trained more than 1,600 wine professionals including importers, distributors, hoteliers, and wine journalists across 20 different cities in China.

The strategy to prioritize trade over consumer has apparently paid off. Between 2017 and 2022, Italian wine has nearly doubled its market share from 5% to close to 10%, based on official data released by the country’s drinks trade body CAWS. This was thanks to the country’s burgeoning middle class, aspirational drinking trends and in no small feat the country’s more informed and knowledgeable Italian wine distribution network.

ITA wine and spirits course has trained over 1600 wine professionals in China (pic: ITA)

The two-and-half-day program covers topics including Italian wine history, regulations surrounding the production of Italian wine, a commercial analysis of the wine industry in Italy, the positioning of Italian wine in China, latest Italian wine trends and innovations.

The course will also highlight historical and cultural references, climate and terroir, wine-growing areas, vital denominations, the main vines, cult labels, and labels to discover. On the last day, attendees will receive Italian wine ambassador certificate.

“Our strategy is to bring our training courses more and more in the so-called third- and fourth-tier Chinese cities and regions as we reckon in those locations there is a tremendous potential still to be explored,” says Galli.

In our exclusive interview with Galli, she shares in detail the outlook for Italian wines in post-pandemic Chinese wine market, the role of education in promoting Italian wines, the competitiveness of ITA course over existing programs, and why she’s adamant on empowering wine trade to help wineries to build “a successful and sustainable business” in China.