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Dalian's brimming wine market

  A new wine culture. (Image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/nikada)
  A new wine culture.
Dalian has become one of the top 10 wine consuming markets in China since 2009, with sales of some Rmb300 million of wines each year. The city's imported wine network has seen rapid expansion and wine sampling in mid-to-high-end hotels has been on the rise.

Dalian drinkers are knowledgeable, not just about French wines but also those from other wine producing countries like Chile, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The recent Vinexpo Asia-Pacific survey of the Mainland's trade shows that in addition to the expansion of special wine stores, supermarkets like Wal-Mart, New-Mart and Carrefour have also counters for imported wines.

The market for low-end wines priced under Rmb200 per bottle is growing rapidly. Retailer Mykal mainly sells imported wines, with prices rising to several thousand yuan. Even Lafite wines are in stock at Rmb18,000 per bottle.

According to the manager of a large supermarket in Dalian, it is mostly middle-aged and elderly people who buy wine at supermarkets. They tend to choose the relatively cheap brands.

Changyu Cabernet Sauvignon dry red and Changyu Cabernet are both selling well, although sales of domestic wines have not registered any significant general increases over the past two years.

Actually, mid-to-low-end imported wines are very popular and sell particularly well during the Mid-Autumn and Spring festivals.

The manager of one wine store in Dalian said not all imported wines are priced beyond reach. He described wines priced under Rmb200 per bottle, of good quality with sales growing rapidly over recent years. These are especially popular among young, relatively well-off people.

Wine consumption at venues like four- and five-star hotels, high-end restaurants and private clubs are mainly for business banquets; imported wines are mostly consumed on such occasions.

But sales of mid-range wines are growing, with sales on a par with high-end spirits.

Several stores offering imported wines in Dalian show that business varies from store to store. Those that entered the market at an early stage and are quite mature in their operation have registered maybe a 30% growth in sales. But some of the late-comers are not doing so well.

Most of the imported wine stores in Dalian operate on a membership basis, supplemented by direct orders from luxury hotels, enterprises and establishments.

Membership reward points and discounts, year-end reward points that can be used to redeem luxury gifts, free wine tastings, appreciation banquets and free production of personalised wine labels are some of the means they employ to attract members.

Some clubs even offer to design personalised wine labels free of charge. Designer wine labels for wedding banquets, birthday parties, cocktail parties and other functions are becoming more popular.

from John Yu, Dalian Office

(Image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/nikada)

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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