BEIJING Spanish wines began a promotional campaign in China on Monday with the opening of the fifth Spanish Wine Exhibition, in which Rioja was the main attraction with a tasting accompanied by commentary from a renowned expert.
The exhibition, to be later in the week taken to Shanghai and Shenzhen, opened its doors in Beijing on Monday, displaying around 50 labels from all over Spain, whose wines have a growing presence in China.
I have tried to bring prestigious Rioja wines which make you dream, said Pedro Ballesteros, one of the 369 Masters of Wine and the expert leading the tasting of the 10 best Riojas currently available in Spain.
Ballesteros talked about various factors involved in wine-making like soil, climate and grape varieties while explaining the main wines of the Rioja region.
The tasting included famous labels such as Muga, Lopez de Heredia, Palacio Remondo, Remirez de Ganuza, Contino, Contador, Abel Mendoza, Sierra Cantabria, Finca Allende and La Rioja Alta.
Alfonso Jorquera, export director at the Puente de Rus winery, told EFE that Chinese people were beginning to incorporate wine into in-house meals instead of restricting their consumption to business lunches or company gifts.
The winemaker already exports around 30 percent of its produce to China.
Sonia Morales, commercial director of the Masaveu group, which owns four chateaus in different regions of Spain, said that China was their main market and they were received well in the country due to their quality-price ratio.
We are heavily banking on this market, because there is an increasing background knowledge which will lead to an increase in wine consumption and Spanish exports, Morales said.
Spain is currently the fourth biggest supplier of wine to China and its exports registered a 32 percent growth in quantity and 13 percent in prices (measures in yuan), according to the Spanish observatory of wine markets.
Spanish wines pay a 48 percent import duty now, although Ballesteros said that this could change soon, citing the example of Hong Kong, which reduced the tax to zero eight years ago.
The same exhibition is set to open doors to wine-lovers in Shanghai on Wednesday and Shenzhen on Friday.