Brazilian wineries look more to China
Built by Italian immigrants in the 20th century, Bento Goncalves has long been known as the hometown of Brazilian wine. The town situated in the southern part of the country, 100 kilometers from Porto Alegre, capital city of State Rio Grande do Sul, has many wineries.
In a subtropical zone with a mountainous landscape, the town is a perfect place to grow grapes. In history, this area attracted a great many Italian immigrants who inherited the skill of winemaking from their ancestors.
The first three months of the year make up the hottest season in the beautiful town, as well as the harvest time for grapes. Trellises can be seen everywhere in the countryside, with mature grapes hanging on vines. Trucks carrying grapes and wine move down the roads.
Giorgia Forest runs the sales department at Aurora Winery. She said there are various kinds of grapes in Bento Goncalves.
"Great wine comes from great ingredients, so the grapes we harvest guarantee the quality of our wine," Forest said.
She also pointed out that Brazilian winemakers, especially from the State Rio Grande do Sul, are looking to market their product to more countries of the world, among which China has been a main customer.
"We started our business with Chinese clients in the year 2015. Although it is far from a long and permanent cooperation, we can foresee the potential of the Chinese market," Forest said.
"The trading keeps increasing and accounts for 50 percent of our whole exports now," Forest said. "We managed to introduce several different kinds of wine covering all the price levels to China, which all got a positive response from the market. This is quite an inspiration for us; we now intend to dig more deeply."
Due to an economic slowdown in Brazil, domestic consumption of wine has decreased recently. Wineries in south Brazil have to come up with new marketing ideas to maintain their business.
In addition to Aurora, Miolo is another wine brand that enjoys a good reputation in Brazil. Its winery is not far from Bento Goncalves.
According to Anderson Tirloni, export department manager of Miolo Winery, the company has been selling its wine to China for four years. It now has five shops in Shanghai, Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong province, Sanya in South China’s Hainan province and other major cities of China. The wine is also available on Chinese online business platforms.
"We had carried out extensive marketing research before we decided to step into the Chinese wine market. We were aware that Chinese people have a different taste for wine compared with Brazilians, so we chose certain kinds of our wine to be sold in China, which is much easier for Chinese to accept and enjoy," Tirloni said. "They covered a large range of prices, (enabling) clients to choose freely according to their requirements."
He also said that every shipment of wine to China can be as large as 10,000 bottles.
"Besides, Chinese clients are paying more and more attention to the quality of wine, which is exactly a specialty of Brazilian wine. Since the market has been opened up, it is a great opportunity from all wineries in Brazil," Tirloni said.
Diego Bertolini, wine taster at the Brazil Wine Institute, said that wine made in Brazil has a pure scent, soft taste and relatively lower alcohol content. Because of the updated management of grape-growing and the advanced technology of wine-making, different types and levels of wine can be produced on Brazilian soil.
Bertolini said that because of growing interest in Sino-Brazil commerce, the wine business has a bright future.
"We are planning to organize some of our wineries to go to China this year. We will hold a wine fair to introduce our Brazilian wine and let more Chinese people know about us," Bertolini said. "It is a long distance from Brazil to China, but it is our belief that we share the same fancy for qualified wine. We sincerely hope that Chinese people can grow to like our wine."