WSET: China – has the bubble burst?

Add to this Paul Henry’s comment that “the world is awash with wine”, with annual global consumption lower than in 2008, and it would be easy to say that the bubble HAS burst, with no hope for the future.

However, being an optimist by nature, it was encouraging for me to be able to show that WSET’s student numbers in China were continuing to grow.

Unlike many more developed wine markets, where a downturn in business immediately brings the training budget into question, education is at the centre of many Chinese people’s drive to improve themselves and their businesses. 

So, wearing my headmaster’s gown and mortarboard and banging the drum to stress the importance of education as a key plank of the development (and redevelopment) of wine markets, I was pleased that I was by no means a lone voice.

Giulia Chen (of Federexport Piemonte) stated “the focus on wine education and training is the most important factor in developing a market”. 

Susan Lansing (DFS Group) had conducted a test measuring sales pre and post-training. As a result sales had increased by 5.6%, and Yang Lu (of the Shangri-La group) stressed:  “The Chinese love to study.” He finished his presentation at the Wine Industry Conference by citing WSET as one of the keys to preparing future sommeliers in China.

So has the bubble burst? No. Does it need pumping up? Yes. And thankfully it is not just me who thinks education will play a big part in reinvigorating the market in China.