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China: Signals Emerging That Demand For Popular Wine Is Easing

on 03/05/11 at 2:34 pm


Anybody who follows the wine industry in China is well aware of the explosion in demand for Bordeaux, and more specifically Château Lafite among Chinese collectors, businesspeople, and budding wine aficionados. The strong demand for Bordeaux in China has not only seen prices for top bottles skyrocket at auctions in Hong Kong or at wine stores throughout the mainland, it’s sent shockwaves through the global wine market, particularly for Château Lafite. As Reuters points out this week, “between the en primeur sale and the arrival of the bottles last winter, the price of 2008 Chateau Lafite shot up 590 percent thanks to demand from China.” By all accounts, demand should remain strong for the upcoming 2010 vintage, with Reuters adding that the Chinese are expected to enter the Bordeaux futures market “in force this year” for the first time.

Clearly, interest in and demand for Bordeaux should stay strong in China for years to come. But as stocks of Château Lafite get lower, and if prices continue to spiral upward, will this long-time dominant player lose its primacy in the Chinese wine market?

For their part, Lafite’s competitors have been doing their best to court the Chinese, with some feeling that Lafite’s rise will, in the long run, improve their chances to crack the increasingly lucrative (yet complex) mainland China market.

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