That will be a particular challenge for so-called New World winemakers from countries such as Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, who will face tougher competition on prices, said Antonio Gaudioso, export manager at Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano, a cooperative in Italy's Tuscany region.
That's because in China, when it comes to foreign wines, red wine from France is prized much more than those from other countries — even those from other Old World producers Italy and Spain.
Regardless of their origin, winemakers will have to work hard to educate China's new middle classes about wine and spend money promoting their vintages as they develop the middle market, both Campo and Gaudioso said.
A key challenge will be adapting to a different culture of imbibing at meals.
"It has nothing to do with food pairing, it's just to do with ganbei," said Campo, referring to the Chinese equivalent of "cheers." The word is a common utterance at formal banquets where diners take turns toasting each other with baijiu, a clear sorghum liquor with more than 50 percent alcohol content — usually until everyone is blind drunk.
"If these people, whenever they have a dinner and they can include wine as one option to baijiu, you're talking about millions of barrels that can be consumed throughout China," he said.
Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman
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