High alcohol wines refer to wines between 15 and 17.5 degrees. High-alcohol wines are not equal to good wines, because many wines achieve the high alcohol degree by adding extra alcohol.The high alcohol wines that are naturally fermented without adding extra alcohol have high requirements for the climate and winemaking technology. Not only does it require a hot climate and special technology to help the grapes accumulate high sugar fermentation, but also a test for technology, as well as enough complexity to balance the strong alcohol. Thus it is always the highest expression of winemaking technology. Currently, there are not many wine regions can reach this standard, famous ones including Napa Valley, the hometown of Amarone in Italy, Valpolicella, Barossa from Australia, etc.. Therefore, the high-alcohol wines discussed in this article refer to high-quality wines that are naturally fermented without additional artificial alcohol.Recently, the author found there is a trend that some importers start to introduce high alcohol wines in the domestic market, although not in large amount. After all, is there a market for high-alcohol wines in China? The Success of High-Alcoholic Baijiu is Worth LearningThere is no doubt that the success of Chinese Baijiu industry can inspire wine businesses. In the past few years, there was a Baijiu with 70 degrees alcohol once very popular, a Hubei Baijiu named “Shihua Bawangzui”. This Baijiu is mainly in the high-end market, with retail price around 1000 yuan. It has successfully turned the high alcohol into a unique and well-recognized selling point.Talking about the success of Bawangzui, Li Tie, chairman of Chengdu Shangshan Brand Management Company. believes that the positioning of Bawang is very successful. It is an ultra-high-end liquor that successfully combines alcohol and high-end brands. Using discerning alcohol as a measure of quality to attract customers and build word of mouth. In the beginning, it was only marketed in small circles. In the early days, it did rush into big markets. Instead, it took more than ten years to build a brand step by step, which guaranteed the success of Bawangzui.Today, wine consumers pay lots of attention to personalization. Merchants have tried their best in packaging and individual characteristics. At present, high-alcohol wines are still in a developing stage. From the experience of Baijiu industry, there will be a market for wines with high quality and high alcohol level.
High Alcohol Wines with Good Quality have not Received Much Attention in the MarketIt is worth noting that in the early years of Chinese wine market in the past few years, some wine merchants used the high alcohol level as a gimmick to sell lower quality wines, even when they added alcohol to the bottle, which left bad impression to some consumers. Therefore, many media and experts in the industry have uttered rumors and clarified the wine market, so high-alcoholic wines are not popular in the market for some time.
Steve, a brand manager of a Spanish winery in Shanghai, confirmed this view. Spain produces more than 15 degrees of wine because of warm climate. For clients who are pursuing high alcohol level, his wine is currently good to sell, but he does not choose to use high alcohol for publicity, because there is no wineries in the market does this. If you pay too much attention to the promotion of alcohol, you may get negative consumer feedbacks.High Alcohol Wines Food Pairing and “High Value” Advantages Help Attract Baijiu ConsumersYuangang Zhai, GM of Sichuan Xuanyi Company, believes that many Chinese cuisines focus on savory tastes. Strong wines are best with strong dishes which is the biggest advantage of high-alcohol wines, especially with some oily Northern cuisine. On the other hand, the spicy Sichuan cuisine, Hunan cuisine, are used to pair with high alcohol spirits. If the alcohol level is too low, it is not suitable for food pairing and does not meet the consumption habits.Yuangang Zhai also mentioned that Baijiu consumers who are willing to switch to wines tend to buy high-alcohol wines. Besides the high alcohol level, many Baijiu consumers like “Tipsy” state. Therefore, drinking high alcohol level wines can undoubtedly cost less and buy less wines.
Mr. Wang, an importer of Italian wines in Shanghai, also confirmed that there are actually many Baijiu consumers who turn to wine. This phenomenon has also led to the import of high-alcohol products. Due to the impact of climate and the rise of winemaking technology in recent years, more and more foreign wineries can produce high-alcoholic wines. In the past, high alcohol wines on the market tend to be around 14 degrees, 14.5 degrees, and now a lot of wines of 15-16.5 degrees have appeared in the market, and some still wines can even achieve 17.5 degrees.Another surprise is that the consumption of high-alcohol wines is also very popular in Western restaurants. A sommelier from a high-end Western restaurant in Shanghai told the author that the high-alcoholic wine did sell well. Since it is a steakhouse, so full bodied wines and aromatic wines are popular. There are also some customers who aim at high alcohol wines such as Amarone and wines from Napa Valley.High Alcohol Level has Become a Special TagMany wine merchants believe that high alcohol wines may not sell well in some districts with lighter cuisines. However, Mr Wang told that the Italian Amarone wines he distributes have a large market in Shanghai. The traditional Amarone wines are made by sun-dried grapes, with a minimum of 14.5 degrees and a maximum of 17.5 degrees alcohol. In addition, Barolos and Barbarescos can reach an alcohol content of 15 degrees. These wines are rich in taste, although alcohol is high but smooth. These wines are all high-quality wines, and high alcohol gives these wines a distinctive tag. Therefore, many customers will purchase specific high-alcohol wines, which become a selling point for high-end wines.Weifeng Nie, managing director of Guangzhou Austrian Wine Industry, said that he is also distributing two high alcohol wines from Clare Valley in Australia, one 16-degree and another 17-degree, mainly targeting the Baijiu and Liquor drinking group in the market. Both wines are personalized products with strong selling characteristics but high cost. One of them has an annual production of less than 6,000 bottles, and the other one is produced once every four years, with each production about 7,000 bottles. Currently, the sales of these two wines in the Chinese market account for about 50% of the. According to the daily sales feedback, many customers will buy wines according to the alcohol content. Australia’s high alcohol beverages will be more prominent than other production regions, which makes Australia’s High alcohol wines very popular. However, Weifeng Nie is not optimistic about the development of high alcohol wines with low quality, because consumers who used to drink Baijiu pay more attention to quality. High alcohol wines may be drunk when they drink a few glasses, so they won’t pay much attention to the price.