Wine list app gets Asian version
HONG KONG, June 14 — While the constant tastings and seminars shared the spotlight at this year’s Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, a look around the fringes of the event revealed just how quickly the region is adapting to the ways of the modern wine world.
And one of the most important trends to emerge from the event was how quickly the wine industry is learning that Chinese consumers are among the most tech-savvy in the world.
Vinexpo Asia-Pacific closed its doors on May 31 with the news that a record 15,000-odd people had attended the three-day event, and that around 1,050 exhibitors had done mostly what they came to Hong Kong to do — which is find a way into the Asian market, and into China in particular.
The people behind the Entaste electronic wine list platform used Vinexpo to launch their service in Asia — and said they had been impressed not only by the growth of the market in the region but by how much people wanted to learn about their wines.
“The idea for our service came about because we saw that people didn’t really know that much about their wines — but they wanted to,” explained company founder David Garrett. “It’s the same here. Everyone is buying wine and everyone wants to know about the wine they are buying. The more people know the more they are interested in buying something new further down the line. It helps us that everyone here is connected, too, and we know the Chinese consumer wants their information immediately.”
Entaste offers the consumer an iPad wine list that extends to information and links to the wineries that they are buying their wine from, and even goes as far as to make food pairing suggestions for the wine. For the restaurants and the wineries, the bonus is market feedback — and the company claims that it will have 500 venues from across the world signed on by the end of 2012.
Such is the importance of the wine industry in Asia that the South American-based group decided to launch here before targeting the traditional strongholds of Europe or even the United States.
China’s massive e-commerce store Yihaodian also used the timing of Vinexpo to announce that it is set to introduce top international labels to the Chinese consumer via its online platform from August.
The company — controlled by American retail giant Wal-Mart — described the move as “pioneering” and the company’s consultancy partner predicted the focus would be on white wines, rosé and champagne, as China’s own winemakers pretty much have the domestic red wine market covered.
Overall, the company claims, Chinese wine drinkers buy 85 per cent domestic, 15 per cent foreign.
One thing is for sure, though: with an estimated 195 million online shoppers across China, there should be enough demand to keep everyone happy. — Relaxnews
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