Wine: China et al

On tastes, he said traditional flavours was a “name game” revolving around the likes of Rioja, Sauvignon and Semillion. He pointed out that a favourite ice cream flavour in Shanghai was pea – so where does that put winemakers making wine for Chinese palates?

“Moving into the future, like it or not, we need to change. some will never change,’ Joseph predicted.

Neil Tully MW, founder of UK-based Amphora Design, spoke about the importance of packaging and labelling when Giorgio Vinciguerra, chief executive of Beijing Guala Closures, warned of the dangers of counterfeiting. Joseph pointed out in summation that Chinese wine drinkers “struggle with and are resistant to screwcap closures. In fact, Penfolds went back to cork because of the preferences of US and Chinese wine drinkers.

Tommy Tse, representing Treasury Wine Estates, which owns the Penfolds brand, showed the company use of augmented reality with its Living Wine Labels, using the QR codes on the bottles’ labelling.

Messe Düsseldorf director and Prowein global head of wines and spir-its, Marius Berlemann, put the importance of China as a burgeoning wine market in context (see panels). He says when Prowine China started five years ago, it was a struggle not helped by the economic downturn which started in 2008, followed by the Chinese government’s decision to clamp down on ostentatious entertaining and gifting.

November’s show boasted 750 wineries and some 18,900 visitors. Subsequently, Messe Düsseldorf has launched Prowine Asia in Singapore (even years) and Prowine Hong Kong (odd years). Both have 300-400 exhibitors and expect around 7,200 visitors. The company’s next big challenge is seeing off Vinexpo Shanghai, which launches later this year, about a month before Prowine China.