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Creating opportunity for Australian ‘fine’ wine in China



This research is consumer focused and will be broken down into four stages answering the following questions:

  • What is ‘fine’ wine in a Chinese context?
  • What is the mental availability of ‘fine’ wine in China?
  • Where/why do Chinese consume/buy ‘fine’ wine?
  • How can opportunity be created for Australian ‘fine’ wine in China?


There is limited detailed knowledge of who bought what, where and when in the Chinese market and while the Australian category has a positive image in China, performing better than in other developed markets like the US and UK, the risk of downgrading our premium position in China is real.

It is not clear how current wine drinkers (estimated at around 40 million) versus the potential (900 million with the income to buy imported goods) view ‘fine’ wine in a Chinese context.

Research in other categories shows that expanding and strengthening memory structures through sophisticated mass-marketing would grow the volume of Australian wine sold in China, but the messages and approach must be first based on understanding category entry points, purchase behaviour and media consumption.

Research approach

This project will be developed over four stages:

The first stage will attempt to define ‘fine wine’ in a Chinese context through a review of wine retail data and audit of the Australian offering across retails channels. This information will be augmented through interviews with Chinese wine experts.

Stage two will be survey-based, looking at fine wine’s mental availability (the level at which a product is easily noticed and/or thought of in many different buying situations) in China, capturing data across consumer groups and cities.

The third stage will also be survey-based, researching the links between channel patronage, media consumption and category usage. This stage will begin with an online survey conducted to build media consumption profiles of consumer groups related to their shopping habits. It will continue with shopper interviews across a range of retail channels (allowing estimation of penetration and market share of the Australian category and identify the proportion of sales due to cues related to ‘fine’ demand).

Stage four of this project will be to conduct workshops with Australian wine sector expert stakeholders based in China to develop actionable strategic outcomes from research.

Sector benefits

This research should assist Australian wine brands invest in activities that are based on evidence-based growth strategies designed to increase volume and value of sales.

The impact of this project will be to direct investment to where it is most needed to build a ‘fine’ perception.