Americanisation is over

28 June, 2017

Winery News


Changyu is China’s largest wine producer and its new Wine City may be the largest winery in the world. Zhou Hong Jiang, Changyu’s vice president, told the audience that Changyu, founded in 1892, was China’s first wine enterprise. It was family-owned for 50 years and then became state owned from 1949 under the Communist regime. From 1997 to 2004 it became a state-owned listed company. Since 2004 Changyu has been a company of diversified shareholding with investment from China, Italy and the US. Shares are held by staff and the state: 49% of the stock is said to be listed on the Chinese stock exchange. Illva Saronno owns 33% of the remaining 51%.

It boasts 20,000ha of vineyards in six regions, 20 wineries (among them Xinjiang, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Hebei, Beijing, Liaoning and Yantai), eight ‘châteaux’, including Changyu Baron Balboa, Moser XV, Reina, Changyu AFIP, Castel, Chateau de Tinlot de Changyu and de Kayla (brandy); 29 warehouses; 3,700 sales people; 5,700 distributors; 181 winemakers. It also makes brandies, such as Changyu Koya.

The Wine City winery in Yangtai comprises 400ha of surrounding vineyards and is said to be about to produce 10 product lines and 520m bottles of wine.

Changyu bought cognac maker Roullet Fransac in October 2013, 75% of Spanish wine producer Marqués del Atrio with vineyards in Rioja, Utiel Requena, Tierra de Castilla and Navarra, in September 2015 and 90% of French château Mirefleurs in November 2015.

Hong Jiang announced that the company is looking to buy wineries in Chile and Australia as trade agreements between China and countries including Spain and Italy have opened up those markets for export and import.

Its wines are currently available in the UK through retailer Waitrose and Berry Bros & Rudd; German department store KaDeWe; Dubai hotel Burj Al Arab and on some cruise lines, the French Carrefour and Spanish El Cortes Ingles retail chains. Hong Jiang says the company wishes to consolidate and improve sales in the face of fierce competition from the likes of France, Italy and Spain. Dominant in China, it wishes 30% of sales to be export.

Changyu may well be the largest wine producer in the world and may have the largest winery in the word. Either way, expect to see Chinese wines on lists and shelves any time soon.

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