California surprised at Australian wine success

The Signal, (California), 20 January, Carl Kanowsky

Surprising to some is the fact that Australia is one of the top five or six selling countries of wine in the world. Annually, it exports over 400,000,000 bottles and consumes domestically about the same amount, according to the online magazine, Australia Top.

Some of the most popular brands are Penfolds, Yellow Tail, Jacob’s Creek, and Lindeman’s. America used to be Australia’s main market but it’s been overshadowed recently by China and Hong Kong.

While every wine distributor wants volume, which it can get in spades from the world’s largest country, that same distributor also faces some real challenges from its potentially biggest market. The aforementioned Penfolds has discovered that, to its dismay.

About five years Penfolds decided to really target the Chinese market. Apparently, Penfolds translated into Chinese is Ben Fu. And someone else had already trademarked Ben Fu in China. Li Chen (also known as Li Daozhi), a Spanish-Chinese seller of wine in China, trademarked Ben Fu in 2009, three years before Penfolds tried to get a Chinese trademark for its own name.

So, in order to be able to sell its wine in China, it had to convince a Chinese court to cancel Chen’s trademark registration. Li Chen, it turns out, is a veteran of wine trademark wars in China. In 2002, Chen bought the trademark for a certain Chinese mark that, according to Liuming International, is a transliteration of the French name, Castel. According to Webster’s, transliteration is the writing of the letters of one language in the letters of another. Full Article

Commercial Real-estate, 23 January, Larry Schlesinger

Chinese investors are back seeking trophy vineyard properties in the NSW Hunter Valley, but are being out-muscled by quicker-acting local buyers.

This is the view of veteran Hunter Valley real estate agent Alan Jurd, who has sold the famous wine region’s last two trophy vineyard estates – Loggerheads and Hungerford Hill – to Australian buyers.

“The Chinese are back and looking. But they are a bit slow compared with the locals. They take too long to make up their minds,” said Mr Jurd, who heads up Jurd’s Real Estate. Full article

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