Australian winemakers and Chinese importers work together to create a premium wine for the Asian pal
A Chinese company is working closely with Australian wineries to create a new premium wine range suited to the Chinese palate.
Keith Leung and Keith Liu run K-Wine, an import company based in Hong Kong.
Mr Leung and Mr Liu are working in partnership with wineries in Western Australia's Margaret River and the Barossa Valley in South Australia, to create wine under their own brand.
K-Wine has created “CEO”, a wine created in Australia, with the businessmen working alongside wineries to develop a unique product.
Mr Leung said they want to create a range of wine that is set apart from bulk wine normally imported to China from Australia.
"I think it's better for us to control the marketing, the market and our distribution channels."
He said his company's expertise in importing to a Chinese market meant they were in a position to protect the image of their Australia-made product in Asia.
"In China there's a lot of products that, once they become famous, a lot of other people will copy your brand."
With a degree in commerce and marketing from Curtain University in Perth, Mr Leung said it is essential the right product is marketed to the right place.
"I am Chinese, I come from Hong Kong, so I understand the culture very much, so how to promote the product in China."
Mr Liu said K-Wine is based in Hong Kong with distribution channels in Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen and Shenzhen.
He said the company hopes to widen its import business to include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
"Our first shipment to those countries should be in about three months time," he said.
Mr Liu said he and Mr Leung decided they wanted to make a range that encompasses "what Chinese and Asian people want their wine to be".
Margaret River winemaker Peter Thompson will provide a 2012 and 2013 Cabernet Merlot from his vineyard for the CEO range.
Mr Thompson said it has been an interesting process developing wine with Mr Leung and Mr Liu, while also ensuring he was happy to have his name on the finished product.
"We certainly wouldn't want our wine to just be sent up there in bulk and put together by any operator who might not have the right concept," he said.
"It's quite important for us to be working at every stage from the vineyard through to the winemaking."
Mr Thompson said Mr Leung and Mr Liu have been involved in the wine blending, and have instructed the Australian winemakers to design a style of wine suitable to a Chinese palate.