The 1900s was, by virtually all accounts, the “American Century,” and many people believe that the 2000s will be the “Chinese Century.”
That assertion extends to the world of wine, and some just-released statistics lend some credence.
For most of the 20th century, the United States was the leading importer of Bordeaux wines outside of Europe. America was populated by plenty of people willing to pay the exorbitant prices commanded by many Bordeaux producers.
But in 2009, the U.S. was supplanted by the People’s Republic of China, which imported 13.5 million liters, or about 18 million bottles, of Bordeaux.
During that same year, the U.S. imported just 11.6 million liters, or about 15.5 million bottles.
To put it another way, Bordeaux shipments to the U.S. were down 44 percent compared to 2008.
Interestingly – and perhaps not surprisingly, given the per capita income in China – most of the sales growth came in lower-end bottlings of Bordeaux.