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Useful tips to gather insights on the China wine market

Market Bulletin | Issue 174
Photo: Adobe Stock
17 Sep 2019
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It can be a little daunting for first-time exporters to know where to find information about different export markets and how to determine the markets and price points that best suit their products.

However, wine or grape levy payers or exporters of Australian wine (with a verified log in[1]), can find a considerable amount of free information on the Market Insights and Exporting sections of the Wine Australia website.

In this week’s Market Bulletin, we provide some tips on navigating the different tools that are available on Wine Australia’s website.


An Australian wine business is looking to take the next step after selling in the domestic market and is exploring the idea of exporting Australian wine to mainland China following conversations with similar businesses that are already exporting.

But where can more information on the China wine market be found to ensure the right fit for their product mix?

Tip 1: Consult the Market Explorer

Wine Australia’s Market Explorer is a great place to start compiling data on the mainland China market, along with over 140 other markets. It is free to access, without a log in.

The Market Explorer reports indicate that mainland China is the fifth largest consumer of wine in the world and the fourth largest consumer of imported wine (based on volume).

Australia’s share of imported grape wine consumed in 2018 was 21.4 per cent and there has been year-on-year growth of Australian wine consumption, up 5.1 per cent. Shiraz is the largest variety exported to China from Australia and there has been short- and long-term growth in Shiraz exports from several geographical indications (GI) regions with a free on board (FOB) price per litre of $10.00–14.99.

Further to this, the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) has phased out import tariffs for Australian wine, which provides a significant advantage over many of our competitors – most of whom face a 14 per cent impost on entry into the market.

Armed with this data, this information gathering activity continues.

Tip 2: Read the China market insights report

The recently released China market insights report offers more detail by providing further context and insights on the market.

This report summarises the China wine market through analysis of numerous information sources including Wine Australia, the International Wine and Spirit Record (IWSR), Wine Intelligence, the Global Trade Atlas, numerous online articles and other sources. Therefore, it is only available to levy payers or exporters of Australian wine.

The China market is fast moving and ever changing. There are several influencing factors to this, including the rising middle class, urbanisation and digitisation.

After peaking in 2017, consumption of imported still wine has fallen in value and volume. This is due in part to a decline in demand for French wines, which has resulted in a drop in wine imports over the past financial year. However, consumption and imports of Australian and Chilean wines continue to grow.

Australian wine and regional awareness is very strong among Chinese urban upper-middle class imported wine drinkers, highlighting well educated consumers.

When trying to enter the market, it is important to understand that the route-to-market is highly fragmented providing several avenues to explore. A business also needs to take into consideration that further impacting on the route-to-market is the rapid evolution of e-commerce. Opportunities are growing in lower-tier cities as they catch up to higher-tier cities in online sales.

More market insights information is also available on the China market on the dedicated web page here.

Tip 3: Refer to the China Export Market Guide

All export markets have requirements for wine (labelling or composition) and these may differ from, or be in addition to, Australian domestic requirements.

Wine Australia’s China Export Market Guide indicates that for labels, mandatory items must be in normal Chinese characters with the exception of the registered trademark. It also reports that import tariffs arranged through ChAFTA are at 0 per cent as at 1 January 2019.  A ‘ChAFTA’ certificate of origin must be produced in order to receive this preferential treatment, and Wine Australia is one of the bodies authorised to issue such certificates.

The guide provides considerable detail on Chinese labelling, compositional, certification and importation requirements  to avoid delays at the ports or problems in market. 

This guide (in English and Chinese) is available to levy payers or exporters of Australian wine for free. Non-levy payers can purchase a copy by contacting the Market Insights team.

Tip 4: Determine profitable price points

The Market Explorer highlighted growth in Australian exports for Shiraz in the $10.00–14.99 FOB price range. But how does this FOB price translate to the bottle price on the shelf when negotiating with importers/distributors.

Retail pricing is unique to each market because of different tax and margin structures. The market determines the price at which an export wine offering is competitive.

Two tools that can come in handy in determining the profitability and the recommended retail price are the freely available Gross Margin Ready Reckoner and its simplified version, the FOB to retail calculator.  

According to the FOB to retail calculator, the retail price per bottle in China would be ¥199.06 if quoting an FOB price per dozen of A$130.50 (or A$14.50 per litre) to an importer/distributor.

Tip 5: Attend a Growing Wine Exports workshop

The China market is a key focus of Wine Australia’s Growing Wine Exports program for new and experienced wine exporters. The regional workshops and online learning are packed full of tools, market insights and strategies for capturing export opportunities in key markets.

From preparing for a market visit, to pitching your brand and pricing for profit, the workshops are practical, hands-on and heavily subsidised by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, ending June 2020.

For more information, visit

Our Market Insights and Export Assistance teams are always available if there you have any questions in preparing to start exporting.

[1] To access our Market Insights information and Export Market Guides for free, you will need to create an account on our website and provide us with a valid wine sector ABN or your exporter ID to then log in and view or download the reports.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

Levy payers/exporters
Non-levy payers/exporters
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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.