At the 2nd annual Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, a competition was held for “The Most Appealing Wine Label for Mainland [China] Market. There were over 1,300 entries from 34 countries and the results I think are telling for producers desiring to enter this market. The four judges were Mr. Charles Ng, a brand consultant, Mr. Brendan O’Toole, Managing Partner of Summergate Limited one of the most experienced wine importers in China, Mr. Fend Gao, GM of Dynasty Fine Wines and Mr. Jason Cheung, head of the Creative Department for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The winners are:
- Champion: Edge Wines, Napa Valley
- Penguin’s Kiss, shiraz from South Eastern Australia
- Kriechal, a dornfelder from the Ahr region in Germany
- Champion: Yellow Tail (yes, Yellow Tail)
- Les Faitieres, Alsace Grand Cru with a traditional label
- Peterson Winery, Sonoma County sauvignon blanc with a bird logo
An important fact of life the judges took into consideration in selecting the labels was that the Chinese value imported red wines despite the fact they cannot read the descriptions; hence, visuals are critical. All the distinguished red wine labels were bold, black and modern and according to Jason Cheung, were selected in context of a sophisticated, upmarket consumer. The white wine labels were friendly or traditional labels that were geared to the commercial market. Given that ‘critter’ labels were already passe five years ago in the U.S., the selection of the Yellow Tail and Peterson Winery labels indicate the relative youth of the market in China – and the enormous potential.