Among the most expanding Asian markets in recent years, Vietnam is proving to be a possible destination for the near future for Italian wines. The figures are clear with the expected off-trade growth from 2.7 million liters sold in 2014 to the likely 4 million in 2019 and with the on-trade that currently has 7.6 million sales of wine from grapes (bubbles included), but in anticipation they could exceed 13 million at the end of the decade.
To learn more about the Vietnamese market, we interviewed one of the country's most influential sommeliers Alex Thinh, which has been introducing Italian wines in the world of luxury hotels and restaurants for over 10 years.
Vietnam: a promise for the future of wine in Asia. Why?
Vietnam is one of the Asian countries with the highest consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially beer and local spirits ( https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/which-asian-country-drinks-the-most ). Thanks to economic growth and current consumption trends, the number of people who consume wine is significantly increasing. Considering that this country has a population of more than 90 million inhabitants, Vietnam clearly becomes a potential market in the near future to pay attention to.
What is the Vietnamese consumer approach to wine in general?
The Vietnamese have started drinking wine thanks to their approach to Western culture, welcoming foreign guests or tasting a dinner in a luxury restaurant and at parties where people would prefer to drink wine. Today wine importers share their knowledge with consumers and this has made the popularity of this product extremely growing.
And the approach to Italian wines?
The Vietnamese have taste and palate preferences that led them to approach wine through sweet wines or body wines with a high alcohol content, but with a touch of sweetness or hints of cooked or dried fruit. This is why red wines produced with the drying method are among their favorites. For this reason at the moment the preferences are very limited to certain types of wine, even if they are starting to know also Prosecco, Chianti, Brunello, Amarone.
What kind of strategies or actions do you recommend to a manufacturer who wants to approach the Vietnamese market?
Vietnam is still a young market and needs to be oriented.
First of all, it is necessary to share information on wines and to direct this knowledge starting from the typical Italian products. Secondly, it is important to be aware that long-term and regular marketing actions will be necessary through the organization of events such as wine tasting, dinners or seminars, and maybe launching an Italian Wine Competition among Vietnamese sommeliers.
Vietnamese food and Italian wine: a pairing that works?
Italian wines and Vietnamese food go well together, but I would say that the privileged wines for this match are whites and sparkling wines, as our cuisine is headed by fish as the main food. This explains the incidence of whites and Prosecco in consumption choices. In addition, wines with high alcohol degree and a little bit spicy would be much more suitable due to Vietnamese people taste and variety food culture. Thank you Alex!