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Italian wine producers join hands to hit Chinese market | Updated: 2014-03-31 13:44

"Recent studies have estimated that Italian wine exports could reach 7 billion euros (9.6 billion U.S. dollars) over the next four years," Ettore Nicoletto, President of Italia del Vino, that since 2009 has grouped together 11 of the most important Italian firms in the wine production sector, said.

Italy's main competitor on global markets, France, registered wine exports of 7 billion euros last year. "Therefore this threshold is psychologically important for us to be reached," Nicoletto noted.

The project, which will start to be implemented this year, included guided visits to Italy for Chinese consumers, students and wine professionals as well as information campaigns, cultural exchanges and also a Chinese dictionary of the Italian wine sector.

"Currently some 70 percent of Italian wine exports are directed to five markets, namely the United States, Germany, UK, Canada and Switzerland, but we think that our biggest potential destination is China," Nicoletto said.

The estimated target is around 19 million citizens belonging to China's upper middle class, who have developed a taste and a growing interest for wine.

Though joining forces in a country that counts some 500,000 wineries was already a very positive step, there was still much to do to overcome excessive fragmentation and heavy bureaucracy, Andrea Sartori, a vice president of Italia del Vino and past head of the Italian Association of Wine Producers, said.

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