Ningxia, a premier Chinese wine-producing region known as “China’s Bordeaux”, will host a wine-themed international conference and an expo in its capital city of Yinchuan this month, as it dials up promotions on the backs of growing domestic sales and exports.
The International Conference on Grape and Wine Industries, China’s first wine-themed conference, will be held from June 9 to 10, according to the Administrative Committee of Grape Industry Zone of Helan Mountain’s East Foothill Wine Region in Ningxia, the region’s government body on wine. The conference will also be held jointly with the third China (Ningxia) International Wine Culture and Tourism Expo.
The conference, themed “Nature, Innovation, Culture and Ecology”, will invite experts and enterprises in the wine-making industry at home and abroad, and officials from 47 wine-producing countries and representatives of nine international organizations.
A total of 2,000 wines from over 100 wineries hailing from 12 wine-producing regions across China will be displayed. The event will feature forums on climate, technologies, trade and investment, as well as wine culture and tourism.
Ni Hongxing, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the conference aims to boost global wine industry’s recovery after being impacted by Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn.
“We want to make contributions to sustainable global economic and social development by joining hands with other wine-producing countries, building economic cooperation platforms, tapping the potential of industrial recovery, and promoting integrated and innovative development,” said the official.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China has emerged as the country’s largest wine-producing region after more than 40 years of development. It now has 228 wineries that produced 138 million bottles of wine in 2022, accounting for 40% of the country’s total bottled wine production. Its brand value is reported to be over RMB 30 billion (about US$4.27 billion).
Despite the pandemic, Ningxia wine’s domestic sales have grown. Based on data released by the country’s biggest retailing platform JD.com, online buyers of Ningxia wines surged in 2022, up by 170% compared with 2021.
This is partly related to strong domestic promotions but also a result of Ningxia wine’s growing quality and Chinese consumers’ rising preference for domestic wines over imported wines.
Ningxia wine exports in the mean time are also on the rise. According to government data, the region’s wine exports soared 256% in 2021 and last year it grow a further 30% though without specifying total value.
Consequently, hit by Covid and fading consumer interest, wine imports during the pandemic plunged, and even with scrapping of Covid restrictions, imported wine recovery lagged far behind tourism and dining, indicating tepid demand and lack of market confidence.
OIV estimated that China’s wine consumption has been decreasing since 2018 by 2 mhl a year or 260 million bottles. Its total wine consumption last year contracted to 8.8 mhl as we have reported.