Chinese Connoisseurs Have Bordeaux In Their Sights

Despite never being keen on French wine in the past, Chinese consumers -- and investors -- are helping to grow sales in the region.

What's the Latest Development?

According to CIVB, the trade union representing wineries in France's Bordeaux region, sales of the famous wine were up by 2 percent in volume and 10 percent in value in 2012, thanks largely to increased interest from Chinese consumers. These buyers, along with Hong Kong's, now purchase 71 million bottles a year, and represent a market that "is increasingly rich and increasingly knowledgeable about wines and products from Europe," according to export manager Edouard Andre. Some are taking their love even further: In the past four years, "some 30 French chateaux have been bought by Chinese investors, and around another 20 deals are currently in the pipeline."

What's the Big Idea?

CIVB president Georges Haushalter says that after a few years of not seeing much growth in Chinese sales, the last five years have been extremely productive, which is good news for the struggling French economy: "I think there's no doubt the Chinese have come to the rescue to some extent in that they have provided a strong market." For those who want the experience of French wine country without the travel costs, a vineyard-inspired theme park is being planned near the northern Chinese resort town of Dalian.

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Read it at BBC News

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