Hong Kong A&A International’s Purchase Of Controlling Stake In One Of Bordeaux’s Oldest Vineyards Reflects Wine’s Growing Importance, Popularity In Greater China Region
Today, details were released of Hong Kong investment firm A&A International’s purchase of French winery Chateau Richelieu, a major development in the global wine trade. While the growing interest in wine in the Chinese market is not necessarily new — sales have been rising for several years now — it seems that Chinese buyers and investors are taking advantage of the global economic downturn and accompanying decline in purchases by western and Japanese buyers to get a hold of rare wines (as we saw in recent wine auctions in Hong Kong, where Chinese buyers snapped up every last bottle) as well as make unique deals with vineyards and wine franchises (as we saw with the recent Chateau Lafite joint venture in Shandong Province).
So what will the increased interest in wine by Chinese consumers mean for global wine markets? The assumption is, at the moment, not much — the idea of wine “speculators,” who plan to hang on to their bottles for years, is likely absent in the Chinese market (yet may exist in a limited form in Hong Kong), and as many analysts have pointed out, one thing that Chinese buyers of fine wines do differently than many of their western counterparts is actually drink the wines they purchase.