Today we have the pleasure to interview the Managing director of the French Cellar China.
1/ Can you introduce The French Cellar and your expansion in Asia
The French Cellar is a wine club focusing on artisanal organic French wines that are selected exclusively by the world class 3-star Michelin sommelier, Nicolas Rebut. The brand was founded in Singapore in 2013 and has expanded to Hong Kong in 2014. On April 2015, we have boarded on Shanghai and started our business on September for the Chinese customers. Monthly subscription is the service we are providing, allowing customers to experience various authentic wines picked directly from the vineyards in France by Mr Nicolas Rebut. We also offer a range of labels for retailing and gifting.
2/ Why more and more Chinese Drink wine in China ?
The Chinese market is more opened, western culture is more accepted and appreciated, young generations are better educated and experienced and willing to try new things; on the other hand, the number of distributors are increasing and direct sales are becoming easier, people nowadays are able to get wines much easier than before (but may not good wines all the time). The society also recognized wine drinking as a new and more health trend from media, advertising, communities, etc.
3/ Why do you think Wine is becoming Fashion in China ?
People are more caring about what they are drinking. Wine is healthier, and with more culture, stories and fun to explore when it is really appreciated. It also brings a great image to people’s lives: the picture of a person holding a glass of wine in his wechat moment usually builds a cool, funky and modern image for him or her. Plus, getting a bottle of wine nowadays in China is much easier than before.
4/ What kind of Wine Chinese Ladies like ?
Really depends. We used to think that they may be interested in those fruity, easy-going, smooth, entry-level selections, however the reality is many of them are quite good at distinguishing different wines and have very different preference. I really couldn’t pick a certain style to cover their preference but definitely, a good wine with a moderate price (but definitely not too tannic or acidic) will be recognized and loved by the fine ladies here.
5/ It is different with men ?
We are proved wrong again: we used to think ladies may prefer lighter wines comparing to guys, however the truth is we have many ladies love fresh, light Rieslings and Pinot Noir, but almost the same number of the other ladies who prefer more the full-bodied, strong types. The only clue we found here is ladies are as good as gentlemen in terms of wine tasting and, many times, we found they are better as being more sensitive, careful and concentrated.
6/ Are you surprised by the development of Wine Bars in China ?
I am definitely. Wine bars and beer bars, even the artisanal ones are found very popular here in Shanghai. People love to spend one or two hours and a few hundreds over there to cheer up with their friends and experience the drinks. One thing I’d like to mention is I have seldom seen serious wine bars in Shanghai yet, most of the bars here selling wines together with many other types of drink like spirits, cocktails, beers and soft drinks. There are several of them but not as those professional ones you could easily find in Japan, Singapore or Australia.
7/ What is your perception of French Wine among Chinese consumers ?
It has the best name and highest recognition, but not in every field. In fact, Australian, Spanish, Italian and South American wines have a pretty decent name among Chinese for medium range wines. Still there are many people believe that French wines are great for the top levels but actually we’d love to introduce the superb entry- and medium- range of selections of French wines to the public of China.
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