How to Enter the Chinese Imported Wine Market 2022 

How to Enter the Chinese Imported Wine Market 2022 

31 March 2022 |  Chiara V | 4 min read


Alcohol consumption has always played a vital role in China since it has a historical association with moments of sacredness and leisure. Thanks to the recent influence of Western consumerism, new needs and diversification in the alcohol market have emerged in China, introducing wine, and turning the Chinese Wine Market into the fifth largest market worldwide for wine consumption. Despite the obstacles due to the Covid-19 pandemic, imported wines in China enjoyed modest resilience and gained market shares in a vast and diversified market with high potential wine import trade. 

In this article, we will explore the market trends of Chinese wine consumers and marketing strategies for imported wines in China

Different types of wine
Imported wines in China

Chinese wine consumer trends

The Chinese wine market is still an immature market in which consumers are well-segmented among traditionalists, adventurous, and curious. 

The most mature Chinese consumer is the traditionalist consumer who prefers the consumption of spirits such as baijiu, while the millennials, most of whom are in the phase of experimentation and identification of taste, attract the attention of wine importers. Overall, wine consumption in China has not yet reached full maturity, and as a result, quality is not yet fully perceived, and tastes are not as refined as in the West.

Among the different types of wine, their consumers prefer red wine because they believe it has beneficial qualities and positive connotations associated with the colour red, such as health and leisure. 

White wine consumption has never climbed the charts mainly because of the low consumption of cold drinks in Chinese culture, but a 2021 report released by AliResearch, showed how the latter is taking hold, guided by young Chinese women. Currently, there is a growing demand for sparkling wine among Chinese wine consumers; in some cases, as in the sales of Italian sparkling wine Franciacorta, the demand has exceeded the levels before the pandemic.

A  six-step plan to enter the Chinese wine market:

1. Local market knowledge

It is vital to be aware of the vastness of the Chinese territory and its market before planning to enter the Chinese wine market. It is essential to know that the Guandong province accounts for 30% of the demand for imported wines in China, and 52 million wine drinkers reside in developed cities such as Shanghai, Chengdu, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

2. Have a solid brand identity

To succeed in such a varied market, it is necessary to leverage the solidity of the brand identity to convey to the Chinese consumer an image in line with their tastes and needs. The Chinese imported wine consumer has not yet developed a deep knowledge of wine, so they will base the choice of a bottle on different elements such as brand reputation, which is why solid brand identity is essential to create a reputation in the market.

3. Brand localisation in Chinese

To emerge among the competitors who see China as a gold mine, it is necessary to proceed with awareness and prudence. The name of their wine cellar translated into Chinese could make a difference, as shown by the penalisation of some French wineries whose name is difficult for the Chinese target audience.

4. The importance of packaging and pricing

To attract the Chinese wine consumer, you must adapt the label in terms of design. The choice of the colour of your label can be on the associations between colour-concepts typical of Chinese culture; many wineries choose to use red and gold colours, which they consider successful colours. The common idea is that the quality of wine goes hand-in-hand with its price. In fact, many consumers rely on this factor and invest a lot of money to increase their social status, while a small slice of young consumers is more sensitive to the price. 

5. Know the journey of the Chinese wine consumer

Where does the Chinese customer’s desire to buy a product come from?

1. Online inspiration and inspiration from the consumer friends

2. Research

3. Purchase

4. Sharing on social platforms

6. Digital presence

Nowadays, presence on Chinese digital platforms is equivalent to access to multiple purchase channels. In digital channels, you can sponsor products, review the wines, share, observe through live-streaming product demonstration sessions, and open your flagship stores on e-commerce platforms. You can engage the customer by investing in KOLs and also purchase the wine directly on the same platform. 

To highlight the importance of presence in e-commerce platforms, consider that in 2021, China had more than half of the world’s e-commerce retail sales. Lady Penguin Case (Wang Shenghan) provides an example showing the effectiveness of e-commerce and live-streaming sessions. 

In 2015, she founded an e-commerce site where she offers educational support based on videos that teach Chinese wine consumers how to taste and choose good wines; the seller also created the site for their selling activity. 

Each subscriber pays 200 yuan to become a member of the Penguin Club and receives a bottle of wine every month. This led her to create Lady Penguin’s Wine Daily, a 90-episode entertainment format used as teaching material for wine information courses. Paying a higher rate, you have access to the Lady Penguin Vip 2000 Club, whose members can participate in wine tastings of great vintages of Champagne, Bordeaux, and other imported wines. 

Glasses of red wine
Chinese wine consumers


Despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, the Chinese imported wine market has shown tenacity and perseverance by engaging consumers of more traditionalist alcoholic beverages and attracting the attention of younger generations who have soon become trendsetters of imported wines in China. To not miss the opportunity of a growing market, it is essential to study your moves well and act with prudence and awareness. Talk to the Enlybee team for the best market entry strategy.