Tom King, managing director of Australia’s popular wine brand Penfolds, has met with China’s official drinks trade organization, the first high-level meeting between the two parties following the signing of their long-term partnership last year.
The meeting also comes at a time when relations between China and Australia are showing signs of thawing, fuelling hopes that China could lift sanctions on Australian wines in an unofficial way before anti-dumping tariffs expires in 2026.
Penfolds is the most popular brand of Australia’s former largest wine exporter to China, Treasury Wine Estates, and China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) is the very trade body that launched the anti-dumping tariffs into Australian wines that eventually corked Australia’s AU$1.2 billion wine trade to China.
According to a summary posted by CADA on its official WeChat account, the two parties met in late February to discuss strategic cooperation and how to improve Chinese wine’s global recognition. Penfolds last year just released its first made-in-China Penfolds using grapes from northwestern Ningxia, a strategic move that both appeased Chinese officials and bypassed 175.6% crushing tariffs slapped on the brand’s Australian wines.
Wang Qi, executive director of CADA, at the meeting with Penfolds delegation led by Tom King and its Penfolds greater China sales manager Wu Mingfeng applauded Penfolds’ move to make a Chinese wine, praising it for playing a positive role in “promoting Chinese wine region and brand enhancement”.
“Chinese market is an open market. We welcome quality wines to enter the Chinese market to meet the needs of consumer’s pursuit of better life,” Wang says.
Penfolds’ first made-in-China wine selling at RMB 228 a bottle is exclusively for the domestic market, and at the meeting King revealed that the brand is looking to add high-end Chinese penfolds that “showcase the characteristics of Chinese terroir to meet the multi-level demands of the market.”
Before China slapped up to 218% tariffs on Australian wines, Australia ranked China’s biggest wine exporter and TWE, the parent company of Penfolds, was the biggest Australian wine exporter to the country. Around a quarter of its top-range Penfolds were sold in the market, prior to the tariffs.
TWE has since diversified its markets but its top brand Penfolds still enjoys immense popularity in the market despite the tariffs.