Waitrose has become the first supermarket to start exporting English wine to China.
As part of the supermarket’s support of the English wine industry, four English sparkling wines will be sold through the Royal Mail store on Tmall, the huge Chinese online marketplace operated by Alibaba Group, from 12 April.
With over 100 wines available to choose from, Waitrose said its export and wine buying teams whittled the range destined for China down to four sparkling wines – two whites and two rosés. Included in the selection are wines from Ridgeview in Sussex, Wiston Estate in West Sussex, and Camel Valley in Cornwall, as well as the Leckford Estate Brut, which is made from grapes grown on the Waitrose farm in Hampshire.
Becky Hull MW, English and Welsh wine buyer said: “We know that Western wines are increasing in popularity in China. This range of English wines represents an important and innovative part of the British food and drink industry.”
Julia Trustram Eve from English Wine Producers, added: “This is a fantastic step forward in showing international consumers what high quality wines are produced over here. Waitrose has chosen a great line up of wines that will be true ambassadors for British food and drink. I’m sure this great Waitrose initiative will encourage more visitors from China to explore our wines and vineyards further.”
Waitrose revealed that sales of English sparkling wine are up 52.6% year-on-year in its stores and, last Christmas, one in every ten bottles of fizz sold was from England or Wales.