Mind the Gap

Marc Soccio from Rabobank took Distell’s Asian marketing team under “drank smous par excellence” Marius Fouche through their new report on wine in China yesterday at VinExpo. Called “Mind the Gap”, for SA exporters the Gap in question is the disconnect between warehouses and consumer drinks cabinets in China. The distribution pipeline is full of SA wine and Chinese shop shelves groan with 2006 vintage whites. The result of the activities of importers and distributors whose numbers have tripled over five years, according to Marc. A hangover is predicted.

20120531 003420 Mind the Gap

One observation arising from the meeting was how French SA labels are becoming. An observation clear from the new Anthonij Rupert Wines labels above. As another Rabobi observed (Rabobank in Afrikaans translates as Spiderman’s Bank) France is synonymous with luxury – think Hermes and Dior – so embracing the tricolor and whistling La Marseillaise is one way of telling Mrs. Li you have a quality product. So standby for an Asian marketing push for Le Bonheur and Plaisir de Merle.

Another insight was kicked into play by Kobus Basson from Kleine Zalze who noted Chinese surfers now dominate the Decanter website and the Internet is the medium of choice for China’s 300 million online citizens. An audience which includes nearly all her wine drinkers. Best joke of the presentation came with the Rabobank definition of a “heavy user” of alcohol – four bottles of wine over the last six months. “In SA it would be rather four bottles of wine last night” joked Marius.