In the midst of the America-China trade war, Californian wineries are battling to try to stay present in the Chinese market, and have declared that they are extremely reluctant to lose contact with China. China has raised tariffs on thousands of US-made products, and unfortunately, that includes wine. With huge import taxes (our sources say up to 91%), American made wine can only be sold in China at extremely expensive prices.
At this stage, many wineries have still yet to determine a course of action, while others have considered focusing more efforts on expanding to other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. It is indeed a worrisome picture with no end in sight if this trade war is to continue.
One winery of note, Honig Vineyard, went from selling around 1,000 cases of wine to China in 2016 to 0 cases last year, and had to double the price of their wine.
But not everyone is pessimistic. Many wineries still see China as a market offering major long-term potential, especially as demand for western products grows. Moreover, Chinese have shown a willingness to try unique imported products, and the more unique a wine is, the more likely it is that there will be a reasonable number of customers willing to shell out money for it. It is indeed possible that wine sales in China could remain strong even if prices rise as a result of tariffs.
We will be watching this situation closely and will be reporting on more news as it comes.