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Foreign wine companies gain foothold in Chinese market

2013-12-30 16:02 CNTV Web Editor: Yao Lan
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China's wine market has begun to boom as Chinese palettes warm up to foreign wine-makers.

In China good wine makers are slim pickings, even if the country is one of the top wine producers and consumers.

Fund manager Chris Ruffle wanted to change that.

So he built a Scottish-style castle and a vineyard in China's wine country of Penglai in the eastern province of Shandong.

He's been at it for nearly a decade and now has a powerful neighbor -- a vineyard run by Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which back at home in France produces one of the world's most coveted Bordeaux.

And it's not just here. Across China local and foreign wine makers, including Moet & Chandon, have been ploughing millions into the ground.

Some small vineyards like Silver Heights in the western Ningxia region are starting to gain industry recognition.

But even if they make great wine, will the Chinese -- who splashed out over $2.5 billion U.S. dollars on imports last year -- pay top dollar for a vintage made at home?

Don St. Pierre Junior built up one of China's biggest wine importers.

Ruffle hopes so. His vintage 2009 bottle called the Commissioner is priced at $80 U.S. dollars.

His biggest customers so far? Local communist party officials and big bosses looking for something unique.

So how's investment in a Chinese vineyard been for Ruffle?

But Ruffle's sticking it out in hopes of creating his own bottle shock in the country poised to be the world biggest wine market.

 

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