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>> As day breaks over Australia's hunter valley vineyards, it's a new strategy by wine makers here that's bearing fruit. Tickling the taste buds of Chinese drinkers. China is the world's fastest growing wine market and while European sales are steady, Australian wines have sky rocketed. Reuters Tom Westbrook spoke to wine makers in New South Wales who gave him a taste of why.
>> Chinese consumers are drinking more and more wine than ever before. And so that like lifted their wine consumption dramatically, at the same time I'm afraid trade agreements is being sign between China and Australia it's cut tariffs on wine for about 20% to 3% tends 0 next year.
And so that's actually lead to wine exports to China rising 63% in the year to nearly $900 million, and they're soaring right now.>> France remains the dominant wine seller in China by far. Uncorking Chinese enthusiasm in Australia has required some changes.>> They've been hiring Mandarin speaking staff to work at their seller doors.
They've been hiring Chinese consultants to help them make big deals and sell bulk wine into China. They've been producing more red wine which Chinese drinkers prefer to white. It really mean replacing screw caps with corks. Screw caps have become the most common kind of seal on bottles in Australia but the Chinese drinkers prefer corks.
It's sort of more like French wine saying it's more prestigious Australian producers have actually been switching back to using corks rather than screw caps.>> It's not only exports, the past year has seen two multi million dollar deals as Chinese buy stakes in Australian wine makers. Chinese investment flowing in has seen vineyards snapped up, one Hunter Valley realtor estimates one-fifth of vineyards in the area are now Hong Kong or Chinese owned.