Tips for buying wine in China

Wine is not considered as a necessity for the Chinese, however over the years wine culture has grown into a significant part on Chinese life. Wine would be used for rituals to dispel worries from the body.
Traditionally Chinese alcoholic drinks are made from grain. Grape wine may be easier to produce but is seasonal where rice wine can be made all year round. The restrictions on grape wine would be heightened or relaxed depending upon the grain manufacturing. The government wanted to make sure that there was enough food for the population. When grain would be scarce, restrictions on grape wine would be relaxed so that the people could eat.
Since then a lot has changed. The Chinese population love their wine and use it for gifts as well as drinking occasions now. Wine culture has developed a lot in China so it may be hard for foreigners or even residents to consider buying wine in China. If you are planning on buying wine in China, follow some of these simple tips.

Wine and dine
How the Chinese eat and drink with their wine strays from western culture. Chinese food typically comes out in no particular order so what you may think pairs well from a wester perspective may be disregarded by the Chinese. It’s important to remember this when buying wine in China as you may be asked if you would like a glass before the meal and be expected to drink it throughout.

The brands
If you aren’t a fan of Chinese branded wine you may be in trouble. While the wine culture has grown a lot, Chinese brands of wine still make up 90% of the wine market. If you’re looking to buy wine in China you may want to do your research first on what type of wines match your pallet.
Alternatively you should look at buying wine in China online to better find the perfect match for you.

Recommendations are everything
Everyone knows France for their fine wine and hold on the foreign market but the Chinese people especially regarding the younger generation rely upon recommendations above anything else. When you are buying wine in China ask locals and friends what their recommendations are. This will give you an insight into what bottles and brands are the most popular and see if they align with your pallet.

More than a drink
If you’re buying wine in China as a gift you have to be aware of what the connotations of gift giving in China are. A lot the time when people give wine as a gift they won’t drink it. Instead it will either be passed onto others as a gift or displayed in a cabinet never opened.
With this in mind it’s important to buy wine in China that is of high quality with presentable labels. People may get offended if you offer a cheap bottle of wine as a gift especially in a corporate setting so make sure that you are aware of the context of the gift.
This works both ways as well. If someone gives you wine as a gift don’t open it and start drinking it in front of them unless told to. Being aware of the culture could save you from some embarrassing moments.

Buy online
If you really want to buy wine in China but you don’t have the luxury of flying over there you can always buy it online. There are many different ecommerce services out there that also can deliver. It’s also an effective way to purchase gifts for people if you can’t find the right bottle or get out to a store.