It's no secret China has been climbing up the wine cellar walls over the past few years, eager to get a piece of the lucrative wine industry. Just last year, Hong Kong surpassed the U.S. as the largest buyer and importer of wines in the world - a sign that Asia is truly invested in the wine market. Now comes word that one of the world's leading wine makers is opening a winery in China, a move that has many wine buyers and analysts wondering if this will be the next big push among wineries.
Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite began construction of a winery with a local partner in China, according to a report in BusinessWeek.
The 4.3 acre winery is located in Penglai (eastern China) and is one of the region's largest wine-producing areas. Chateau Lafite Rothschild teamed up with CITIC East China (Group) Co. to build the production base, which will include a vineyard, winery and production facilities, according to the government statement. The same reports show the new winery will cost 100 million yuan ($15.8 million). There is no word on when the China-based Lafite winery will open, but when it does it will be Rothschild’s third Lafite production base after Argentina and Chile.
“The world’s top luxury brands are all very interested in the Chinese market, Rothschild is no exception,” said Zhang Lu, a Shanghai-based analyst at Capital Securities Corp. told BusinessWeek. “The winery underscores its confidence in demand for high-end wine in China.”
Just how high end are we talking? According to wine buyers, it's time to brace yourself for an Asia immersion. A case of Lafite-Rothschild 1982 sold for a record HK$1.03 million ($132,770) at the October 2011 Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, while another case of the same vintage sold for HK$720,000 at a Christie’s sale in Hong Kong in November.