Lucy MacDonald Connolly
- Australian wine exports to China generated $1.2 billion in 2019
- Female wine drinkers double China’s imported wine drinking population, creating demand for foreign wine
- Australian businesses utilise wine KOLs with a female fan base to lure potential Chinese buyers
Australia is officially the number one imported wine to mainland China. According to Wine Australia, 2019 marked a financial year record in Australian wine exports to China reaching $1.2 billion AUD. Australia has the rise of imported wine drinkers in China to thank for this staggering growth, with female millennials leading the change. As Julius Bear Bank predicts that China will become the second-largest wine market in the world by 2020, wine brands around the world seek new ways to access this increasingly important market through appealing to young, female wine drinkers.
China’s rise in imported wine drinkers
Research from Wine Intelligence shows that there are roughly 38 million imported wine drinkers in China as of 2019, a population that has doubled since 2012. The rise of young, millennial wine drinkers, who are more likely to explore different wine brands from different regions around the world, has been a major factor towards this growth. Millennial women, in particular, have led the change as they are more likely to consider fruitier wines, providing more variety in a previously Bordeaux-styled wine dominated market. According to China Wine Competition, the perceived health benefits of wine rank as the main attribute of wine for Chinese women. The growth in female wine drinkers has also been due to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) that produce wine-related content on Chinese social media, particularly on Weibo and WeChat, that educate female millennials on wine. This provides wine brands with a unique opportunity to potentially engage millions of young, female millennials via social media by using KOLs to gain trust for their foreign product.
Image Source: Premium Wine Broker, https://premiumwinebroker.com/brokers-blog/2019/4/1/who-are-the-biggest-wine-influencers-in-china
Utilising KOLs to market towards young female wine drinkers
Online retail has revolutionised the way people shop, especially in China where according to QuestMobile, the average Chinese person spends 4.7 hours on their phone a day for entertainment purposes alone, as of 2019. If products do not have an online presence in China, they will fail to captivate the Chinese market. To increase Australian wine presence in China, Wine Australia invited wine KOLs, the Chufei and Churan twins, for a two-day event that included multiple tastings of Australian wines. The trip was live-streamed and posted on social media, reaching over one million followers. The posts encouraged millennial upper-middle-class Chinese women to discover the joys of Australian wine. This would not only encourage online wine orders but has the potential to increase Chinese wine tourism in Australia. Wine has become a status symbol for Chinese millennials, who can demonstrate their sophistication through their own knowledge of wine. Wine tours, therefore, have a great appeal to this demographic and can be marketed by utilising female wine KOLs.
Image Source: Newsroom, http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/do-eco-friendly-wines-taste-better
Young Chinese women are opening China’s doors to imported wines as they seek new global wine brands. Wine is still far from the mainstream in China, leaving room for further growth that can add to the $1.2 billion AUD from Australian exports to China. To encourage this, Australian businesses can create an online presence for their products in China through the utilisation of Chinese KOLs.
Australia has an abundance of food festivals and wine tasting events perfect for KOL promotions across the year:
Taste of Tasmania
Taste the flavours of regional Tasmania during this end of the year food festival. Held in the city of Hobart, this carnival-style festival runs for 7 days and celebrates the seasonal flavours and ingredients native to the region. Key dates: Friday 27th of December 2019 to Thursday 2nd of January 2020.
Cellar Door Wine Festival, Adelaide
Fill up with food and wine at Adelaide’s Cellar Door Wine Festival, featuring wine tastings from over 150 wineries. Hone your wine tasting skills at a Masterclass, or explore the seasonal and local flavours of Adelaide’s best produce at the Farmer’s Market Key dates: TBC, Adelaide Convention Centre on North Terrace
Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival – Hunter Valley, New South Wales
From May to June, the Hunter showcases its best local culinary and wine talent of the region. Award-winning wineries and restaurants come together, offering guests culinary classes, winery tours, wine tastings and winemaking classes. Guests also have the opportunity to meet and greet with renowned winemakers, sommeliers and culinary specialists. Key dates: 1 May – 30th June 2020
Noosa Food & Wine Festival – Noosa, Queensland
Superb food and wine ensue from the convergence of Queensland’s culinary and wine masters. Enjoy a course of brunch, dinner and cocktails parties in this seaside town during Noosa’s balmy Autumn season. Key dates: 14 – 17th May 2020 Venues: Hastings Street, Noosa Main Beach, Lions Park
Good Food Month, Australia
Experience the best of Australian gastronomy during the World’s biggest food festival. With over 1000 events, guests can experience the best food from innovative chefs and local producers. Discover Australia’s best fine dining experiences at affordable prices. Key dates: Canberra – March, Perth – April, Melbourne – June, Brisbane – July, Sydney – October
Barossa Gourmet Festival – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Savour the flavours and dishes from South Australia’s renowned wine and gastronomy region, while taking part in 30 events over the festival’s 3-day period. Guests are offered the chance to take part in a plethora of cooking classes and wine tastings, making it one of Australia’s most popular foodie events of the year. Key dates: 6-8th September 2019
Tweed Fusion Festival, New South Wales
Come to know NSW Tweed Valley in October for a culinary adventure, alongside a beach setting, with local art and music. This festival is bound to please everyone, with Tweed Valley’s superb food and wine, and a terrific line-up of culinary talent. This festival is complemented by the Valley’s stunning landscape, stylish pop-up galleries, cafes, local art and music. Key dates: October 2019
Margaret River Gourmet Escape
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape involves a 4-day getaway in sun-drenched Western Australia. The festival includes a full itinerary of masterclasses, cooking demos, food tastings, pop-up restaurants, and live entertainment. The event boasts a guest list of international and local celebrity chefs, who contribute to local menus by adding unique twists to tried and tested dishes. Guests can also enjoy a few more days outside of the event exploring the region of Margaret River. Globally renowned for its beaches and foodie culture, Margaret River is also home to attractions such as the Lake and Mammoth Caves, as well as National and State forest trails. Key dates: 8-17th November 2019 @ Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, Australia.
Taste of Melbourne
Join hundreds of Australians for Melbourne’s most popular food and wine festival during November. Taking place in the heart of Melbourne, Albert Park, pop-up restaurants are packed with special menus exhibiting Melbourne’s most lavish and locally procured dishes. Feast your way through curated dishes, sharpen your wine-tasting acumen, and hone your cocktail mixing skills during this weekend-long fete. Key dates: November 2019.