Wine has been produced in China since the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Thanks to its immense territory and favorable climates, China is the largest grape producer worldwide, contributing to more than half of the world’s grape production. When it comes to viticulture, it also has the third-largest vineyard area worldwide. For a long time, wine was seen as a symbol of social status and luxury in China. Nowadays, an increasing number of Chinese started to welcome grape wine as a “healthy drink” and enjoy it regularly in their daily life.
Stimulated by the lucrative market, China’s annual wine production volume proliferated in the first decade of the 21st century. The number of wine manufacturing enterprises peaked at 244 in 2017, of which 14 went public. However, since the second half of the 2010s, China’s domestic wine industry has faced substantial challenges from its foreign competitors due to high production costs and narrowing price margins. As a result, the production volume and number of manufacturers have continuously decreased in the second half of the 2010s. In 2022, demand for wine shrunk significantly in China, as the coronavirus pandemic largely restrained social activities. In that year, three out of five leading wineries in China recorded negative profits.
Nevertheless, like the domestic wine industry, China’s wine import market has also gone through turmoil in the past years and the import value has shrunk since 2018. In 2022, it was the seventh-largest wine importer in the world, dropping from fifth place in 2020. The plunging wine import volume that year was caused by the coronavirus outbreak and China’s anti-dumping measures against Australia, its largest wine import market.
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Research expert covering e-commerce and FMCG in Greater China