Swirls: China, Walgreens, New Zealand

The gold rush that is the Asian wine market, especially China, was captured well by  Wine Spectator’s Suzanne Mustacich, who attended the 2010 Vinexpo Asia-Pacific conference in Hong Kong last week and reports on what she found. Some 12,0lafite00 attended the conference, 40 percent more than two years ago. Among the interesting observations: a big void exists for middle-range wine in the Chinese market; still, they can’t seem to get enough Chateau Lafite. Read the full article. 

The Walgreens drug store chain is offering wine and beer again after a 15-year absence, according to the Wall Street Journal. The beverages are currently stocked in 3,100 of Walgreens 7,500 stores. The program was actually started last year, I discovered in a press release on Walgreens’ Web site. The company said beer and wine would be stocked in most stores as “another step toward making Walgreens a destination retailer.” No evidence of this on Walgreens home page, however. It remains devoted to prescription drugs.

And if you like New Zealand sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and other wines, get ready for more choices and a bigger push to get Americans interested in the wines under a new campaign announced by the New Zealand government. Interesting to note how the country’s economic development minister describes the United States as a “lucrative but  relatively undeveloped market.” Read the full article in New Zealand’s National Business Review.

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