American wine has become a hot commodity in China, especially among the young, upwardly mobile middle class, said Steve Riboli of San Antonio Winery in L.A.
“These consumers want a taste of American culture, whether it’s through wearing American clothes or drinking Californian wine,” he said.
The 97-year-old San Antonio Winery, which Riboli’s family has owned for four generations, exports 15% of its wines to China — some 700,000 bottles annually — and expects that to rapidly increase in the next two years.
“We’ve had double-digit sales growth in China versus single-digit growth here in the U.S.,” he said. “The market there is only getting bigger.”
Riboli said they primarily export red wines like cabernet, pinot noir and merlot.
“These wines go well with spicy regional Chinese cuisine,” said Riboli. “And we’ve found that Chinese consumers also like red wine for its health benefits.”