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There is a whole lot of drinking going on this week in the French city of Bordeaux as the wine world gathered for Vinexpo, but also some worrying as well.
The sipping and selling at the world’s largest wine trade fair has been overshadowed by China launching an anti-dumping inquiry into European wine sales in response to the EU imposing duties on Chinese solar panels.
With the French drinking less wine, Asia – and particularly China – are the future with huge potential for sales. Indeed Vinexpo, which is already held on alternate year in Bordeaux and Hong Kong, is to add further events in Beijing and Tokyo next year.
China imported 140 million litres of French wine last year, worth over 580 million euros making it the third biggest market for French producers.
Sales in Asia are growing four times faster than in the traditional markets for wine.
Of the almost 50,000 visitors due at Vinexpo this year, one third are from outside France and the organisers said 10 percent of the total are Asian.
But some of the French producers among the 2,400 exhibitors are worried that their industry is getting dragged into a trade war that has nothing to do with them, and at a bad time with France’s economy in recession.