In Conversation With Winemaker From Chateau Nine Peaks
Hear from Denise Cosentino, winemaker and cellar master at Chateau Nine Peaks.
Today, IBWSS China sat down with Denise Cosentino, winemaker and cellar master at Chateau Nine Peaks. Denise talks about her journey in the wine industry, and how Chinese wineries are looking forward to exporting their wines to the United States.
How did you get into the wine industry?
I have been working in the wine industry for about 10 years after getting a double diploma in Viticulture and Enology in Italy and France. I made wine in Italy, France, Germany, and NZ, before arriving in China in 2014 where I worked also as a wine teacher for the Enology College of the NWSAUF university. Since 2017 I joined Chateau Nine Peaks as a full-time winemaker.
Give us a little bit of an insight on Chateau Nine Peaks
In 2008, Dr Karl-Heinz Hauptmann from Germany set up Chateau Nine Peaks Winery in Tsingtao of China, with a total area of 150 hectares, of which about 90 hectares of vines were planted. The winery is located at the foot of the Nine Peaks Mountains in Laixi, hence the name Chateau Nine Peaks. At present, it mainly grows the grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Gernischt, Marselan, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Petit Manseng. We produce red, white and rose wines.
As a winemaker, what does a typical day for you look like?
It depends, it is seasonal so no two days are the same! If you talk to me in August or September, it could be very busy, I wake up in the morning and it is straight to the vineyards, go out looking at the vines and see where they are and then sample the fruit and consider when to pick. When fruits come in I am constantly checking the crush pad and making sure things are running smoothly, and writing work orders to my team for various fermentation activities. Post-harvest it is all about tanks and barrels, tasting wines seeing how they are progressing and running blending trials to determine the final blends for the wines of the previous vintage then dealing with their bottling.
Do your wines have a place in the US marketplace? Or would you like to get your wines into the US marketplace?
Our wine they don't have a marketplace in the US yet, and yes we would like to reach this market one day. So far we have reached the market in France, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
So a lot of Chinese wineries are making great wines these days, and the US is a huge market for imported wines. Could you tell us a little about exporting wines to the US from China?
We don't have any experience yet in exporting to the US, but what could be difficult is to deal with export documents and certificates and the trans-loading from the point of entry to the final destination. Especially go through the FDA registration before the first import could be difficult to handle. Then, of course, find a distributor could be the hardest part and something not manageable by us due to the American distribution system.
What are some of the things you as a winery could use help with when it comes to exporting wine to the US?
Cooperate with local agencies/institutions on organizing marketing and networking events.
As a winemaker, what’s one rule you tend to stick by?
Stay focus, try to get the best out of the grapes and listening to your senses instinct.
And lastly, what are you drinking currently?
A Petit Verdot from Argentina's Uco Valley, looking for inspiration to make a future wine.
China Wine USA Export Conference
Exporting your wines to the United States and entering the largest wine market in the world is a goal that most wineries find themselves looking towards. However, entering the US wine market has its ups and downs.
IBWSS China is bringing to you the China Wine USA Export Conference, where our experienced industry professionals - Sid Patel, John Beaudette, and Steve Raye will be diving deep into the ins and outs of entering the US wine market with your wines.
Here's what you will learn at the China Wine USA Export Conference
Understand the U.S Market
It’s an absolutely critical factor and one that can give you a meaningful competitive edge in the U.S. Simply stated importers do not want to spend their time educating you; they want you to come to them with a basic understanding of the market. The better you can demonstrate that you understand the three-tier system, brand economics, and have realistic expectations, the more likely it is that you will be successful.
Recognise that having great wine is necessary but not sufficient
You must have a simple and compelling story about how you are going to help them grow their business with your brand and portfolio.
You should have realistic expectations of what success will look like in terms of cases and revenues, over a given time frame in identified markets. They expect you to understand and plan for investing the resources in terms of money and people necessary to achieve those objectives.