India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Lafite’s Seven Year Itch in China

Posted: Thursday, 16 December 2010 17:07

Lafite’s Seven Year Itch in China

The Sansulas of India can take solace from the fact that they are not the only ones that are tossed around and left in the lurch after working hard promoting a foreign brand which later takes a competitor in its lap, with the Bordeaux First Growth Chateau Lafite which has been in news for the prices shooting up in auctions and retail, changing partner in China after seven years’ successful relationship.

A report in Decanter confirms what was being rumoured recently- The seven-year relationship between Domaines Barons de Rothschild, owners of Chateau Lafite and their Chinese distributor Summergate has ended. With effect from January 1 next year, their competitor and the biggest importer in China, ASC would be marketing their wines.

There was a disturbing story in the Indian newspapers today. The suitor of a girl killed her simply because she did not agree to marry him! It appears something similar has happened between the two parties in China. Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) wanted an equity stake in Summergate which was not prepared to sell any of its equity, according to the firm’s managing partner Ian Ford and so they decided to dump them and go to their competitor ASC.

A company statement says, ‘ Summergate believes that the interests of its global range of quality producers, its customers throughout greater China, and all of its stakeholders will be best served by remaining independent and free of any single brand owner holding an equity interest in the company. Summergate, now in its twelfth year, will continue as an independent distributor under the leadership of its founding partners, Brendan O’Toole and Ian Ford, working with a first class team of seasoned Summergate wine professionals operating throughout the greater China market.’ 

‘Clearly we took the decision not to sell any stake to DBR with full knowledge we were going to part ways. It was a long-considered decision’, says Ian, adding, ‘It was an unfortunate divergence of strategy,’ he said. DBR was intent on an equity stake and control over their distribution in China, while Summergate’s ‘vision of the future’ was to remain independent.

With Lafite prices reaching unprecedented heights recently, Burgundy has started catching the eye of the importers and consumers in China with nose on the vine and Ian says they may be focusing on just that- for the moment. DBR was a fantastic brand, but there is a lot of space for a lot of big brands in China, and that Summergate was also focusing on Burgundy.

Noting that the Burgundy trade body the BIVB had earmarked €400,000 for a concerted campaign in the China market, Ford said he had ‘plans with two companies in local regions to market and distribute Burgundy in very significant amounts in 2011.’ He also feels that Italy, especially Tuscany is also a region poised to take off in China. Of course, the company will maintain the thrust on the Bordeaux wineries which have established a mark in the affluent Chinese Buyers’ category- as also seen in the recent auctions in Hong Kong by all three leading auctioneers - Acker, Sotheby’s and Christie’s

ASC has reportedly said that DBR Lafite was coming on board- their products are being added to the portfolio with effect from January1, 2011 according to the emails sent to the company’s customers. It has also confirmed that it would take no stake in the distributor’s company. This is intriguing and one wonders why the relationship could have not been continued with Summergate in that case. One speculation is that the new distributor has agreed to distribute wines from the Lafite vineyard under development in Shandong with CITIC, China’s biggest state run investment company.

Only the company’s sales in the medium term may or may not justify the change of distributor, as in the case of Sansula who was the Distributor for Antinori for seven years when the itch had started.
Source: Decanter


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet