The globalisation of the wine industry: new world, old world and China



Publication Details

Thorpe, M. 2009, 'The globalisation of the wine industry: new world, old world and China', China Agricultural Economic Review, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 301-313.


Purpose - As the Chinese economy continues to develop, rising incomes for many people has meant significant shifts in consumption patterns. Over the past several years, per capita wine consumption in China has doubled. Although off a relatively low base, this still represents a significant sales volume. At the same time, the wine industry in the country has been undergoing restructuring with China now emerging as a major producer in world terms. These developments have been occurring at a time when the global wine industry has become increasingly globalised with so-called new world (NW) suppliers challenging established European companies in existing and emerging wine markets. In this context, the paper aims to look at the possible threats as well as opportunities presented by China as a relatively new player in the market. Design/methodology/approach - The paper reviews recent production and consumption trends in the world wine market. The changing patterns and growing volume of global wine trade is then assessed in light of the significant structural changes occurring in the industry in both importing and exporting countries. Recent developments in the wine market in China are identified and possible future implications for the world market are discussed. Findings - NW wine producers are increasingly encroaching on traditional wine consuming markets and gaining advantage in new and growing markets. One result has been an expanding and increasingly competitive global market place. China, meanwhile, is seen to have considerable potential for growth in terms of wine consumption, while at the same time posing a possible threat to existing exporters in third markets. Originality/value - Knowledge of emerging trends in wine markets and likely future developments are important for industry participants as well as policy makers in countries where wine is an increasingly important traded commodity. The paper provides an important contribution to the understanding of the global nature of the wine industry and the potential influence of China as both a major producer and consumer of wine.

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