Chinese wine tipped for more prominent role on UK shelves by top Convivality buyer

18 July, 2016

Uncertainty over exchange rates and trading relationships with Europe could open the door for China to seize a far greater share of the UK wine market, according to arguably the country’s leading buyer.

Andrew Shaw, who is now in charge of buying wine for the Conviviality group – including Bargain Booze, Wine Rack, Bibendum PLB and Matthew Clark, among others – said he “firmly believes in the quality of Chinese wine”.

Shaw told OLN: “We have started doing something with China. China could capitalise on this market uncertainty in the Eurozone. It is the fifth largest supplier of wine, strategically wanting to [increase] their distribution model in global markets, particularly in the UK, and the timing could be perfect for China.

“We have pitched to retailers and we are going to bring in one supplier from September and two more in April 2017. I firmly believe in the quality of Chinese wine and I am an absolute supporter of their capabilities and we want to be at the cutting edge of it.”

The EU referendum result has sparked uncertainty in the markets and caused the pound to struggle against the euro and against the US dollar, which will affect the price of wine bought from Europe and the Americas.

Shaw added: “With Brexit, so much depends on what happens to the EU as a group of nations in the next six months and our relationship with that infrastructure. In the short-term it’s the uncertainty that is prohibitive and slows the relationships down.

“But as one opportunity goes down, one goes up. It might play to the strengths of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. We may well find that there’s a more stable long-term buying opportunity in other nations that aren’t on our doorstep.

“The currency swing is the biggest concern on an immediate basis in Europe. If it diminishes it threatens the infrastructure of many suppliers in Europe, if they are UK-centric.”

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