Argentinean wine maker pursues China market for 8 years

Argentinean wine maker pursues China market for 8 years

Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier gave up his position at investment bank 15 years ago to pursue winery, and during the late half of his brewery career, China has been the prime market he targets consistently.

(Soundbite) Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, Wine Maker
“China is a big consumer of top-quality wine in the world and we are looking for our little opening (in the market) to convince it consumers that France isn’t the only interesting (producer of wine). Argentina can also make high-quality wines.”

Especially during the past five years, Ortega traveled to China five times a year to get to know about the market and release his thirst for the Chinese culture.

(Soundbite) Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, Wine Maker
“Our connection with China began over eight years ago, because of my curiosity and China’s potential.”

His recent visit to a high-range winery in Shangri-La, Yunan Province, has inspired him to create a similar project which combines wine culture with tourism.

(Soundbite) Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, Wine Maker
“A Chinese investor has called his product Omei Uco. Omei is the name of the mountain in the Chinese province where he was born.”

To pass on his love for China, Ortega arranges his three children to take Chinese class three times a week, and they now can sing Happy Birthday to him in Chinese.

Among his variety of products, Torrontes has proven to be a success with Chinese consumers. His wine also enjoys popularity in Chile and the United States.

Under the eponymous label that Ortega created in the western province of Mendoza at the foot of the Andes, there are a 14-metre-deep cellar, a winery-themed restaurant and a five-star hotel under construction open for private investment.

(Soundbite) Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, Wine Maker
“We are the first winery in the world to unite passion for wine with people who want to develop their own wine.”

The Wine Economics Research Center at the University of Adelaide, Australia, projected that wine consumption in China would grow between 40 percent and 60 percent between 2011 and 2018.

While Argentina is the world’s fifth-largest producer of wine, it represents a scant 1.01 percent of China’s wine imports, which have seen explosive growth of at least 400 percent in the past five years, according to the center.

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