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Italian wine producers join hands to hit Chinese market | Updated: 2014-03-31 13:44

Italy's wine producers have got started to fill the gap with other export-driven countries in what they consider a "highly promising" Chinese market.

Wine exports are an important motor of the Italian economy, official figures have shown. In 2013, wine was the most exported agri-food product, with 5.1 billion euros (7 billion U.S. dollars) and a growth rate of 8 percent compared to 2012.

Italian still wine bottles, however, last year had a market share in China's wine imports of only 6.5 percent, less than half compared to some 10 years ago, marketing director of Casa Vinicola Zonin, a leading Italian wine producer, Stefano Silenzi, said speaking in a conference at the Milan Foreign Press Association.

France retained its spot as market leader, with more than 50 percent, he noted.

Italy's low performance in a fast-developing economy that has become the biggest market for red wine last year raised some questions, Silenzi said.

"Looking at global players that have already worked in China for some 20 years, we realized that we could not maintain a traditional approach to the Chinese market, but we needed to join forces and deepen our knowledge of that country," he said.

The new awareness resulted in a 2.7-million-euro (3.7-million U.S. dollar) joint project, which will be developed over the next three years, aimed at informing and educating Chinese consumers about Italian wine.

The project was launched by Italia del Vino, a private consortium of which Casa Vinicola Zonin was part, together with another influential wine consortium, Istituto Grandi Marchi.

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