Masson, S�nchez S�nchez and Celhay

Introduction

The Chinese market has high growth potential for many products, including wine (Liu & Murphy 2007; Jenster & Cheng 2008; Lee 2009; Lee et al. 2009; Thorpe 2009; Yu et al. 2009; Somogyi et al. 2011; Liu et al. 2014). With a population of 1.37 billion and an ever-expanding middle class, China has become very attractive to winemakers (Jenster & Cheng 2008; Camillo 2012; Liu et al. 2014; Zeng & Szolnoki 2014; Anderson & Wittwer 2015), particularly those from the oldest wine-producing countries (Muhammad et al. 2014; Capitello et al. 2015). The European wineries, for example, hope to compensate for the decrease in domestic wine consumption by exporting to China (Bouzdine-Chameeva et al. 2014). Although wine consumption per person remains low in China – about 1.3 litres in 2013, versus a world average of 3.5 litres per year (Wine Institute 2013; IWSR 2015) – it has shown a strong and steady increase of 25% per year over the last decade (IWSR 2014). China is now the fifth biggest wine-consuming country and the first for red wine (IWSR 2014). It thus represents a potential marketable segment of 167 million consumers (Bouzdine-Chameeva et al. 2014), with 48 million people already consuming imported wines, according to a recent estimation by Wine Intelligence (Hao & Halstead 2016). Growth should continue, and Chinese wine consumption is expected to increase by 5% per year until 2020 (Mintel Group 2016).