Hawke’s Bay wineries spend $500k to lure Chinese buyers

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers today announced plans to spend $500,000 over the next three years to increase awareness and sales in China.

The industry group says it has secured a dollar-for-dollar grant from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust. The agribusiness trust invests about $2.7 million per year for the sector to explore new markets and develop future leaders.

The programme calls for up to nine education and tasting events per year in addition to public relations and social media campaigns. One of the first tasks is to create a Mandarin section on the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers website.

“This campaign is the largest international collaborative campaign we have ever undertaken,” James Medina, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers executive officer, says in a statement. “China is hugely important for Hawke’s Bay given this region’s strength as a premium red wine producer and the Chinese strong preference for reds.

According to the trade group’s website, the region produces the highest concentration of red wine in New Zealand with more than 70% of the country’s full-bodied reds and more than 80% of its Syrah.

Hawke’s Bay saw 17 wineries investing in the Chinese venture.

“Acting individually we would make little impact on building the Hawke’s Bay wine region brand, but collectively we will make great strides in a shorter time frame,” Mr Medina says.

Hawke’s Bay wineries aren’t necessarily competing with their neighbours, he says, but rather against France, Italy, Spain, Australia and the other large wine-producing countries.

The region is home to nearly 5000 hectares planted, 80 wineries and 145 independent grape growers. Most outlets produce less than 200,000 litres per annum and are family owned.

The Chinese programme will target media and key influencers to educate them on Hawke’s Bay’s wine with a focus on the 17 participating wineries which paid for the venture. Seminars and tastings will hit regional markets but also first tier- cities, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

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