Chinese wolfberry processor taps red wine market

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-19 0:03:01

As China has become the world's biggest market for red wine consumption, Ningxiahong Wolfberry Industry Group Co aims to grab a major share by launching a wine made from a Chinese fruit on Tuesday.

"The golden period for China's liquor market has gone with the central authorities' crackdown on official banquets featuring liquor," Zhang Jinshan, the chairman of Ningxiahong, told media at the launch in Beijing on Tuesday.

For liquor makers, the opportunity lies in the rising income of Chinese consumers and their preference for red wine as a healthy and fashionable drink, he said.

China overtook France for the first time to become the world's largest consumer of red wine in 2013, with a consumption of 1.865 billion bottles of red wine, according to a report released in January by Vinexpo, a Bordeaux-based wine industry conference.

Experts said China's red wine market still has large growth potential, as the country's wine consumption on a per capita basis remains far lower than France.

Ningxiahong on Tuesday launched a red wine made from Chinese wolfberries, and aims to achieve sales revenue of 1.5 billion yuan ($242.4 million) this year, equivalent to three-quarters of the group's annual revenue target.

Zhang also set an ambitious goal of wine sales aggregating 10 billion yuan in the next five years, and said the group is also considering an IPO within three years.

"It is an innovation for Ningxiahong to use wolfberry in winemaking, which is a combination of local and Western winemaking techniques," Lü Xianxun, a marketing expert on wine, said Tuesday at the event.

The launch of the wolfberry-brewed drink is also in accordance with the government's efforts to develop modern agriculture and raise the incomes for farmers, said Chen Jianhua, Party chief of Zhongning, a major planting area for wolfberry in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Wolfberry planting and processing is a pillar industry in Ningxia.

The planting of wolfberries covers an area of 850,000 mu (56,666 hectares) in Ningxia, and the annual output reached 130,000 tons in 2013, generating revenue of more than 5 billion yuan, according to data from a local industry association.

Global Times

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