Cheers to more wine

(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-05 09:23

A market in Shanghai offers a variety of both Chinese and imported wines. Jing Wei

Jenny Zhang, a 36-year-old Beijing woman, buys wine from Carrefour almost every month.

"I've been drinking wine because it is good for my skin and helps me sleep," she says.

"More and more Chinese, both old and young, and from different lines of business, come to buy foreign wines," says Charles Delamalle, former import wine manager at Carrefour's China headquarters. "They buy the wines, to give friends as a gift or to drink by themselves."

At the Shuangjing branch of Carrefour, there are more than 1,000 wines, and a foreign wine professional to give recommendations. French wines take up half of the sales, according to Delamalle, who has just became director of Sopexa, a promotional organization of French food and wine in China.

"The biggest customers are rich Chinese business people," reveals Delamalle, who has worked at Carrefour for nearly two years.

The biggest single sale at Carrefour was a Chinese customer, who bough 48 bottles of Bordeaux Grand Crux worth 150,000 yuan ($21,000). Each bottle of the wine is priced at from 6,000-8,000 yuan ($844-1,125).

For the second time since 2005, China was 10th place in the world wine consumption rankings, representing 2.2 percent of the world's wine consumption in 2006. The country's wine consumption is expected to increase by 69.5 percent from 2006-2011, according to a study this year by Vinexpo and IWSR, released on Feb 27, in Beijing, based on current trends in the international wine and spirits markets.

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