Feature: Spain's winegrower expects more Chinese investment to promote Spanish wine-Xinhua

Feature: Spain's winegrower expects more Chinese investment to promote Spanish wine

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-01-17 15:49:15

BARCELONA, Spain, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Spain's wineries and winegrowing regions should shelve their differences and join forces to put Spanish wine brands first, Xu Julian, head of the Alilian winery, the only Chinese-run winegrower in Spain, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday.

"The image of Spanish wines as cheap and low quality is changing. Simply because a wine is French, it sounds better to a Chinese consumer. This is what we have to achieve, and not only in China but everywhere, and it is a long-term objective," said the oenologist and manager of the Alilian winery.

Located in the northern winegrowing region of Ribera del Duero, the Alilian winery was set up by Xu's father, whose love of Spanish wine led him to start his own winemaking operation in 2013.

A 30-year-old, Xu said that he began to take an interest in making wine at the age of 15, when his father, who at the time was exporting Spanish wine to China, took him on his visits to wineries.

Xu went on to study oenology and further refined his knowledge under the tutelage of Spanish oenologist Juan Ayuso, and he eventually went on to take over the day-to-day running of the Alilian winery.

"This is the first Spanish winery run by Chinese people, with Chinese investors, but not only as investors, as we ourselves are the ones who do all the viticulture, oenology, and winemaking," he said, expecting more Chinese investment in Spanish wines.

"There are already a lot of Chinese people investing in vineyards and wineries, and that will continue in the future because Spanish wine is on the rise and is growing, and especially in quality regions like Rioja and Ribera del Duero," he said.

"Instead of vieing with each other over whether Ribera del Duero or Rioja or Rueda is best, let's join our strength to build the Spanish wine brand and promote it," added Xu.

Exports of Spanish wine are increasing by about 10 percent a year with China as one of the fastest-growing markets, according to ICEX, a Spanish institute for foreign trade.

"In the past few years, the popularity of Spanish wines in general has grown a lot and that growth along with the greater knowledge of wine among the Chinese has also helped us to better promote our wines," he said.

Xu added that the winery is on track to soon sell half of its total wine production to China.

"We're growing all the time in China. I think the future is that if you offer quality and competitive wines with a story and real efforts behind them, people will value them," he said.