Taiwan is traditionally known for its appetite of tea, coffee, beer and single malt whisky. Slowly, however, wine is becoming a welcome visitor
Over the past decade, wine consumption in Asia has grown significantly, as seen in our reports on many of the Asian markets such as China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. While most of these markets have seen a marked increase in the popularity of wine, Taiwan, an island not so far away from them, remains a bit of a mystery. With a trip to the 2018 Taipei’s Wine & Spirits Spring Festival (as part of a visit to my Taiwanese relatives) I had an opportunity to get a glimpse of what the wine market is like in Taiwan.
This spring festival was very busy and lively, featuring a variety of different alcohol beverages: craft beer, whiskey, fruit-infused alcohol, sake and wine. For wine, in particular, the fair is one of many to take place this year. There will be a fair dedicated just to wine in July, with another wine and spirits fair taking place later in November. The spring fair was intended more for the public in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and had attracted a large crowd, especially for a Monday. It was sometimes a bit of a hurdle to make it through the crowd and get my next glass of wine. There were free tasting classes on wines from Sancerre, Douro and South Africa as well.
The trend I saw at the fair seems to fit in line with the data we have here for the country. From 2017 IWSR data, consumption for imported wine has been growing, with an annual growth of 8%. According to Wine Intelligence’s 2017-2018 Global Compass report, per capita consumption is 1L, which is similar to that of China and South Korea, and Taiwan’s status has moved from an ‘emerging market’ to a ‘growth market’. In fact, a recent study by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF) shows that alcohol drinkers prefer wine over beer and spirits.