Representatives of wineries from the Margaret River region jetted to Guandong Province, China early this month for the official opening of what is believed to be a world first for the wine industry.
People from fourteen participating Margaret River wineries attended the opening of the first Margaret River Wines retail and wholesale outlet in Zhongshan and according to Watershed Wines Managing Director Geoff Barrett, the visit represented a significant moment in the region’s wine story.
“The opening of the Zhongshan Margaret River Wines outlet is believed to be a world first in terms of a wine region having its own dedicated store in another country,” Mr Barrett said.
“It is a significant and important step in increasing the exposure of Margaret River wines and the region in China.
“Huge growth is anticipated in the Chinese wine market over the next few years and we are expecting to see an estimated 35 million new wine connoisseurs.”
The plan is to establish 10 Margaret River Wines outlets across China by the end of this year, with a long term goal of an enormous 300 outlets over the next three years.
The Margaret River region visitors and winery representatives visited the site of a future outlet in Guandong Province, located in the city of Foshan, which is scheduled to open this month.
They also travelled to Beijing to inspect a third outlet, which has a completed fit out and is expected to be operational in May.
MRBTA chief executive Pip Close said the project was a coup for the region.
"The Margaret River Region wine stores are a significant and exciting opportunity for the region, as they will not only showcase our world-class wine offering, but our region as a destination,” Ms Close said.
“China's interest in our wine is emphatic, and the stores will allow wine buffs to purchase and taste – something many of them have been thus far unable to do,” Ms Close said.
Outlets in Tianjin, the location of Margaret River Wines’ head office and warehouse, and Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, are scheduled to open by the by the end of the month.