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More women are raising a glass, with demand for wine rising

By Chen Yingqun | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-07-19 07:57

Chinese women are drinking more alcohol, with a preference for sweet wine, according to industry insiders.

A recent report by e-commerce platform Suning said the number of female wine consumers in the country last year grew by 5 percent year-on-year, and the trend would continue this year.

Women prefer sweet and sparkling wines, and sales of both categories have risen much faster than the industry average. Those born since the 1990s are especially keen on sweet wine, the report said.

Cecilia Fu, 44, an entrepreneur from Shanghai, said she frequently drinks wine with dinner, whether at home or at gatherings with friends.

"I don't like to get very drunk, but I enjoy getting slightly intoxicated, which makes me feel less stressed. Moreover, wine has a good influence on health, which also attracts me," she said.

Snow Chen, senior cultural strategy consultant with market research company Kantar, said the education levels and incomes of Chinese women are increasing, so their demand for "self-identity and self-satisfaction" is also rising, which is reflected in their purchasing power.

"In traditional Chinese culture, alcohol is closely related to men, but now women are increasingly inclined to break away from such stereotypes, which will also briefly affect the growth of their alcohol consumption," she said.

Chen added that for health reasons, women tend to choose low-alcohol products mixed with fruit and vegetables.

Many alcohol brands have launched new lines targeting female consumers. For example, in February the Belgian company AB InBev launched Ritas Spritz, with a lower alcohol content and flavors that include White Peach Rose, Pear Orange Sangria and Strawberry Blueberry Sangria.

Li Shun has been importing Bulgarian rose wine under the brand name Rosadoli to China since the end of 2017 after he noticed an increasing demand for alcohol among women. He is now in charge of the brand's operation in the country, and this year expects to sell more than 100,000 bottles of rose to Chinese consumers.

Li said Bulgaria is "the kingdom of roses" and there is a Rose Valley in the country, where high-quality varieties are grown.

"With its long history of producing wines, the rose from Bulgaria is quite good, and we have imported various kinds of Rosadoli to the Chinese market," he said.

China is a significant consumer of alcohol and its drinking culture is still dominated by men, who enjoy beer and spirits. But for women, there are few good alcoholic products to choose from, he said.

As women become more independent economically, they are more willing to consume alcohol, Li added. In recent years, a Western-style drinking culture has had an impact on Chinese women. This, combined with greater pressure at work, has seen them drink more alcohol.

Li said that unlike many European women who like alcoholic drinks with strong flavors, most Chinese females prefer sweet, low-alcohol drinks.

"Our rose wines have several flavors: sweet, semisweet and dry, and the sweet ones sell best," he said, adding that the repurchasing rate for rose is as high as 80 percent.

Moreover, as demand for beautifully packaged and smaller-sized drinks is greater among women, Rosadoli roses have been produced in thinner, 375 milliliter bottles, half the size of regular wine bottles.

(China Daily Global 07/19/2019 page2)

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