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Main Topic: Western Wine in A Chinese Setting

Hosts: Michael Turton , James Stanworth , Clyde Warden

Health Benefits
Wine benefits health
Wine was early in Chinese culture, but never quite caught on as part of the meal. With a big emphasis on balance, Chinese cuisine dictates food combination with a strong emphasis on health. In fact, food is considered a form of traditional Chinese medicine. Western wine should fit into the health idea, but it never really has integrated. In this show, Michael Turton gives some insight as to why this is the case, how the wine market has developed, and what marketers need to do to be successful in this market. Michael recently presented his preliminary findings at a marketing conference in Washington, DC.

The whole concept of wine drinking is different here from what many Westerners experience in their home countries. We often look for the wine menu and consider what wine will compliment the food we are eating: will that bottle of poulette fumé go nicely with the salmon? In Taiwan the customer first checks if it is red (for the health properties) and then generally looks for the preferred country - France. The consumption experience focuses on the health properties and communicating to others that you have the right product (conspicuous consumption). In other words a wine from France. Michael's interviews have revealed the difficulties in this bifurcated market where one one end all that matters is a cheap price (to get red wine), and the other end where price is all that matters is high price. Check out TATUNG's ( a conglomerate that produces everything from computers to rice cookers) Website on wine, where health is emphasized and education is a big component.

Taiwan lifted alcoholoic beverage and tobacco imports in 1987, which slowly opened to a boom time in the mid 1990s ( view report here).

Local specialty wines tend to be sweet, like Clyde's favorite--Bee wine, made with poisonious bees.

The market has two ends and no middle.

The Show:

Length: 55 minutes. Download MP3 25.88MB (Right click->Save As).


Consumer CamConsumerCam:

Vid. 1) Wine promotion at Carrefour that emphasizes a special price--Clyde buys a bottle.
Vid. 2) Costco has the largest selection and range of imported wine in Taiwan.
Vid. 3) Samples of wine at Costco along with some education by reps that know more than what we experienced at Carrefour.

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • Health is a main point that attracts customers.
  • Wine is not a mainstream part of ordering and thinking about Chinese food.
  • Successful marketers co-opt a master/teacher so locals learn the "appropriate" way to enjoy the product.
  • The market segment is small compared to say that of beer.
  • High end and low end is the market. There is no in-between.
  • Naming is a problem since translations of wine regions are not standardized (葡萄酒,酒,etc.).
  • Few people are knowledgeable and consume wine purely for the intrinsic pleasure of consumption.
  • Brand sends a powerful message about status: France is well known.
  • Build a relationship with the local distributor.
Category: Podcasts

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