For Schloss Reinhartshausen, a centuries-old wine chateau situated in the Rheingau region in Germany, China will be a key market for white wine in the future as its consumers become more sophisticated in their drinking preferences.
Considering the huge market potential, it is relevant to have an agreement on geographical indications in place between the European Union and China, the chateau's export manager Alexander Lorch told Xinhua News Agency in a recent interview.
Founded in 1337, Schloss Reinhartshausen is one of the oldest wineries in the world. About 90 percent of its vineyards around the chateau are planted with Riesling grapes, destined to be made into Germany's renowned Riesling wine.
"The origin of Riesling is most important to the wine itself, the style, and the character. It is important that consumers are aware of what they are purchasing," Lorch said.
For Lorch, Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the country is shifting from heavy red wine consumption toward a more diversified demand."We see that there is improvement, there is interest and there is experimenting," Lorch said.
He said there exists a large market for white wine in China. "When you have a very strong red wine consumption by history, and then you start to find there is more than red wine, there is white, there is Riesling, there are other varietals," he said.
Riesling would be a good choice for those who prefer less acidity and more fruitiness, Lorch said, adding that the wine accompanies an assortment of dishes without overwhelming the food.
"The white wines will have a great future, at least with the younger population of China," he said.
Although the German domestic market takes up 60 percent to 70 percent of the chateau's sales, China is becoming its most important export market, Lorch said.
"It's important for all of us at Reinhartshausen to really take the chance and develop step by step the Chinese market," he added.
The chateau has already set foot in China's metropolitan areas including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and is expanding.
It was also a frequent presence at wine expos in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and Shanghai before the pandemic.
Lorch said China reopened earlier than other markets in the world after the pandemic lockdowns, another positive factor in its market potential.
He hopes the chateau will welcome Chinese visitors again, possibly from 2022 on, to experience the chateau and the estate.