Nice niche for fruit wines
Richmond’s Canada Berries helping to quench growing Chinese thirst. By Grant Ullyot
anada Berries, located in Richmond and formerly known as Sanduz Estate Winery, introduced its fruit wines into the Chinese market during the past year and is ecstatic with the results. “We are not the only ones selling wine to the Chinese, but we are unique,” says general manager Polly Saw.
“It all started with blueberries and the idea of converting them into a fruit wine, utilizing berries grown locally in the Richmond area. Using our unique wine-making system we bottled and shipped five containers of fruit wines last year to Shanghai. From there they were distributed by wholesalers in the local markets. This year we are planning to ship 15 containers of wine by boat to China, again through Shanghai as it is the most direct route from Canada to China.”
China has become one of the largest markets for red wine, rivaling Italy and France, long considered to be the major consumers of red wine. And wineries in the Okanagan have been exporting their wines to China for several years.
Tommy Yuan is the founder and director of Canada Berries and President of the Canada Area Business Network. He pointed out that Canada Berries only makes ‘fresh’ berry wine and Chinese consumers love their wine made from whole blueberries.
“China is fast becoming one of the biggest global markets for wine,” notes Yuan. “At Canada Berries we have an advantage over other wineries in that we specialize in fruit wines, in particular blueberry wines. “Our berries grown on Lower Mainland farms are among the finest you will find.”
Yuan says Chinese people like to eat and drink and while blueberries are very expensive to buy in China, “we sold our blueberry wine at a reasonable cost that amazed our
beneficial in developing the Chinese market. While the focus
has been on the exports this past year, Canada Berries is equally interested in improving sales to local
consumers. It recently hosted events during the Chinese New Year in
Vancouver in a bid to raise its local profile.
Canada Berries general manager Polly Saw with Canadian consul general (Chongqing) Philippe Rheault at the 92nd annual Food and Drinks Fair in Chengdu, China.
Saw explained how Canadian trade officers helped to establish Canada Berries wines in China by including them in a tasting event sponsored by the federal government. The fact she speaks Mandarin proved to be very
Canada Berries produces several varieties of wine using blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blackberries. With a staff of
four permanent employees and several seasonal employees, it also produces wines from Granny Smith apples and peaches grown in the Okanagan.
For the first venture into China Canada Berries exported the main
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