Simon Murray, CEO of Range-based Settlers Rise wines is full of Christmas cheer … that’s because he has just confirmed the sale of 10 containers of bottled wine to China.

THE SALE of 120,000 bottles of red and white wine is an enormous achievement for a regional company. Settlers Rise was established in Montville 12 years ago and largely blends its wine in Queensland and bottles its wine interstate, but lately this bottling has been taking place at Sirromets state of the art plant.

Simon anticipated a move to Maleny when he and owner Geoffrey Thomas took over Settlers Rise in 2007 and this became a reality at the end of 2008.

The sale of Western style wines to China has skyrocketed in recent years, and Australia is very well placed to supply that market says Simon.

“We have to be aware of the wine styles that meet the Chinese palate,” says Simon. “They want specific blends, they insist on corked bottles and of course, there is a price point that you must meet for Chinese buyers,” he added. “They also like a Western label with a back label descriptor in Chinese.” Another interesting point is that 80% of wine consumed in China is drunk in karaoke bars which probably explains the woeful singing!

In the 12 months to the end of September, China bought 22.3 million litres of Australian wine, up 34 per cent, at a value of $122 million, according to Wine Australia.

The sale of Settlers Rise wine to the city of Shenzhen in the province of Guangdong has established the brand in China and Simon is also excited by a new opportunity to market his wines through a liquor store chain in the USA.