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Posted: Monday, 03 Jun 2019 18:46

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WBWE Asia: China looks more Red in Yantai

Jun 03: Yantai International Expo Center seemed to be draped in red with gold, the official colours of the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) Asia that debuted on May 30-31, near Hotel Crown Plaza Sea View, where 140 exhibitors representing 208 producers from 20 countries showcased their wines, writes Subhash Arora who visited the maiden Show

About 4,000 visitors from 35 different countries attended the 2-day event open to professionals. Considering this was the first edition, it may be considered very successful even as it established North-eastern Yantai port town (much closer to Seoul than Beijing or Shanghai) as the city for bulk wine business in China.

In a country with potential to become world’s largest wine consumer, participants from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United States, Ukraine, UK and Uzbekistan shared two days of tastings, business deals, debates and future prospects.

According to the organisers Pomona Keepers and Comexposium, the global purchase of bulk wine in China to be bottled in destination has increased exponentially  from 31 million liters in 2000 to 176 million liters in 2018. The market has now matured enough so the leading international operators can consolidate their business relationships.The wine available from the exhibitors represented 55% of the supply of the international bulk wine trade.

Besides the exhibitors’ stands, there were the usual activities seen in Amsterdam. There was the Silent Tasting Room like in WBWE, Business Conferences and Technical Master Classes. The Tasting Master classes were extremely popular with the visiting Chinese, especially when the presenters were Chinese. As might be expected, each stand had to have a Chinese interpreter. This, despite instant translation being provided in Chinese language!

Chinese Traditional Culture Area was an interesting addition at WBWE Asia with the local  craftsmen displaying their wares and giving live demos in  Bobbin Lace Technique, woollen hand embroidery, Paper cutting and sculpture art.

Vincente Sanchez Megallon, General Manager of WBWE Asia told delWine this project had been in the pipeline for a few years before finally zooming in on it after 10 years in Amsterdam last year. One could see groups of Chinese delegations visiting WBWE during the last 3-4 editions. It would be a matter of years before China would be added as a venue. There may be others waiting on the wings but WBWE Asia hopes to do better next year and every following year and keep the lead. Vincente took pain to emphasise that although China is by far the most aggressive player in Asia, essentially this Show is for the whole of Asia, including India.

Othilia Ramon, CEO of WBWE Asia says, ‘We are creating our own path to the future of this market –not only in China but in Asia and collaborating to help the market with a great future. China has the potential of becoming biggest consumer market. We had a very positive experience about the market as European professionals and learning about the market without prejudice and with an open mind. For example we find there is a good market for very sweet wines, organic wines and those with no alcohol-in fact these samples were finished on the very first day. New packaging is another new step here.’

She added, ‘we want to plan this event every year. Right now wine is a drink of the elite in China but we want to make it a drink of choice for middle classes. We want to get close to the consumers but through professionals.’

Jose Luis Murcia, Conference Manager WBWE Asia explains about the colour scheme of the logos and posters-red and gold with white letterings. ‘We wanted our local partners to give us suggestions as they best know the local conditions and this is what they came up with.’ It’s pretty bold and effective and eye-catching!

China is currently placed fifth in terms of bulk wine imports. Only Germany, France, UK and USA are ahead. But it is the fastest growing country and intends to double the vine surface to take the second spot in production in 5 years. China tops the list as the world’s fastest growing bulk wine importer.

2018 has been a bumper vintage after a disrupted 2017 vintage resulting in higher bulk wine prices. It will be interesting to see prices become more affordable. According to OIV, about 38-40% of world wine business in volume is done in bulk wine.

For earlier related Article, please visit:

Curtain Raiser WBWE Asia 2019: Yantai China Ready for the Bulk Wine Exhibition

Subhash Arora


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