Chinese investors acquire a taste for Napa Valley wineries

on 25/10/10 at 12:48 pm

Wine

As wine consumption skyrockets in the greater China region, Chinese businessmen are setting their sights on Napa.

In that wine-rich valley, a growing number of businessmen are looking at vineyards for sale, or commissioning bulk wine to bottle in China. Their goal: boost exports of U.S. wines to the booming China and Hong Kong markets.

While wine consumption is still low in China compared with developed markets such as the U.S., it’s increasing dramatically. Over the past five years, China’s consumption of U.S. wines has quadrupled, to 6.26 million liters in 2009, according to International Wine and Spirit Research, a U.K. consulting group.

The trend has captivated U.S. winemakers, which historically have relied less on exports than other nations because of high domestic demand. It’s also generating substantial interest from Chinese investors.

“The growth has been spectacular,” says David Henderson, founder of Montrose Food & Wine, a major importer of American and other foreign wine into China. “It’s grown right along with the consumer in China.”

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