When you think about it, Nederburg is incredibly well positioned to play the Chinese market given that red is the house colour and the Andrea Foulkes-powered new restaurant in the manor house is auspiciously named The Red Table. Mega feng shui.
The current issue of the Spectator reviews China’s Silent Army: The Pioneers, Traders, Fixers and Workers Who are Remaking the World in Beijing’s Image by Juan Pablo Cardenal and Heriberto Araújo and makes a couple of points. For SA wine marketers, the revelation that Africa is home to 750,000 Chinese traders “who have set up retail businesses all over Africa selling the flood of consumer goods that pours out of China’s factories” should be of interest. Now that Nederburg’s owner Distell has recently bought a controlling interest in a Chinese liquor distribution company, perhaps this distributed pipeline can be stocked with wine and spirits from the Nederburg cellar in Paarl. CJ Wines & Spirits is based in Zhongshan in the Pearl Valley Delta of Guandong province in southeast China and has operations in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
If an army of 25,000 Chinese women run a door-to-door clothes retailing operation in Cairo, stocked with goods made in Egyptian sweatshops, Chinese trader networks are clearly a tremendous opportunity. China lends more money that the World Bank ($110 billion in 2009-2010) and has a particular interest in Africa, with trade worth an incredible $166 billion a year – far more that the West. SA wine should embrace Chinese traders with open arms.
Which makes our Cape to Canton celebration of Chinese New Year at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands on Sunday, well-timed. For the Cape has been the nexus of trade between Europe and Asia for centuries, supplying fresh vegetables, wine and brandy to sailors and merchants off to the tea and opium plantations of the east. A heritage we’re trying to dust off and rejuvinate. Why not come along on Sunday and give us a hand? Quicket has the tickets.