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In-depth Interview with President of Rioja Regulatory Board

Reveal the business opportunities for Rioja wines in China



Mr. José Luis Lapuente, President of the Regulatory Board of the Denomination of Origin Rioja (Consejo de DOCa Rioja), was interviewed for the first time in China, to explain in depth the business opportunities of Rioja in the Chinese market:


How do you view the current situation of the Chinese wine market?

José Luis Lapuente: In general, for Rioja, the development of the Chinese market in the past 10 years enjoys a great upward trend. The reason is that, firstly, we have spared no effort in the marketing promotions in Chinese market, which has brought an increase in exports, and secondly, the production capacity of the Rioja region has also increased. The data shows that, in 2010, there were about 112 wineries in Rioja exporting to China with nearly 890,000 liters of wine, most of which were not aged in oak barrels. While by the end of December 2017, the numbers turned over 5 times. Moreover, from August 2017 to August 2018, the export volume has reached 4.1 million liters, and by the end of this year, this figure should grow consistently.


From the data analysis, what do you think is the most competitive advantage of the Rioja wine region in the Chinese market?

José Luis Lapuente: Chinese consumers have a particularly strong learning ability. Compared with previous years, more and more consumers start to know wine and Rioja’s wine in particular. This is a great advantage for us. Meanwhile, Rioja only sells wine to consumers when it is aged and ready to be drunk. Combined with Chinese dining habits, the insistence of Rioja perfectly suits the market demand. Whether in current days or in the future, the advantage of satisfying Chinese consumers’ needs will enable us to enjoy great business opportunities. In a word, it is now high time for Rioja to have an in-depth conversation with Chinese consumers!


Viewing the data, Chinese market of imported wines is showing an upward trend, meanwhile the competition is fierce. Could you give some specific advice for Chinese importers?

José Luis Lapuente: The style of the Rioja wine is versatile. There is no limitation. We hope to establish partnerships with more parties, but before that, I suggest everyone come to Spain and visit Rioja, to feel the passion and enthusiasm of people here about our wines. Wine has become a very important part of life for people in Rioja. When you come here, you can feel things other than the liquid in the bottle, such as culture, wineries, etc. Establishing a close relationship will be beneficial for long-term collaboration.