In a study named Asia – Opportunities in China and Beyond, carried out by Wine Intelligence, China was identified as the market that will be most attractive over the next five years.
The research advises the wine industry to also take advantage of opportunities in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
The five markets differ substantially, it said, and added that it would be a mistake for the wine industry to consider Asia as a single cultural entity.
Richard Halstead, chief operating officer at Wine Intelligence, said: “The wine producers who will achieve the biggest success will be the ones who not only understand these trends but actually establish a physical presence in their target markets.
“It’s not possible to access the markets in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore or Taiwan from an office outside those countries.”
Another trend is towards “every day, affordable imports” in Asia as wine “gets away from its image of being purely a luxury product and becomes more attractive to younger consumers”.
Wine Intelligence found that the on-trade is often the best way to target consumers.
Improved ranges of wine in Chinese supermarkets and more affordable pricing should also see the number of imported wine drinkers increase well beyond the current 19 million, the research said.
In Japan, much of the market growth is being driven by the off-trade, as consumers turn away from the on-trade for economic reasons, while in South Korea growth is coming from younger people, reported Wine Intelligence.
Singapore is the smallest of the five countries the research covered but it was noted that brand identity and high volumes are the key to success in this geographically limited market.
Taiwan was referred to as “a more problematic market for wine exports than the other Asian countries”.
Barriers in Taiwan include a ban on internet sales, high taxes and few English language speakers. The high price of wine and lack of female drinkers are also said to be factors that limit opportunities.