Britain’s oldest wine merchant has become the first in the country to permanently stock Chinese wine, it emerged today.
The ‘People’s Republic’ is currently the eighth largest wine producer in the world and is expected to move into sixth place by 2016.
Now Berry Bros. & Rudd, the 314 year-old wine merchant and vintners to the Queen, has recognised the emerging market by stocking four wines produced by Chateau Changyu.
These are a Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend and three Ice Wines – grapes which have been frozen on the vine.
Chinese consumers currently drink more than 1.6 billion bottles of wine annually, with this figure forecast to grow by a further one billion by 2015.
They have also acquired a taste for the finest wine and are now the second biggest buyers of top Claret by volume behind Germany.
Mark Pardoe, Wine buying director at Berry Bros. & Rudd based in St James’ Street, London, said China is now making world-class wines.
He said: “It seems that the predictions we made in our ‘Future of Wine Report’ in 2008 are already beginning to come true – and this is a first step towards serious international recognition.
“Until now the country’s focus has been on its volume-driven domestic market, and other export efforts have been based on external investment.”
The wines will vary in value with Chateau Changyu Gold Label Ice Wine costing £19 and Chateau Changyu Black Label Ice Wine costing £65.
Mr Pardoe added: “While this may be a small selection of wines, they are a sign of things to come.
“Chateau Changyu has led the way in bringing in expertise from the Old and New World winemakers and is creating some top-class wines.
“However, there will be other winemakers hot on their heels and we expect to taste wines of greater quality from more Chinese producers.
“Amongst the so-called ‘new New World’ wine regions, China is definitely in the ascendant.”