Bolney Wine Estate has become the first English wine producer to secure distribution in mainland China, giving this West Sussex winery a strong foothold in the world’s fastest growing wine market.

In a deal struck by the British Bottle Company, one of the leading exporters of English wine, Bolney joins the portfolio of Guangzhou importer the Wine People. Founded by British national Claire Murray and Christian Rank in 2016, the business focuses on responding to the market’s increasing thirst for good quality, original wines at affordable prices.

“We are extremely excited to be bringing English wine to China and showcasing the exceptional quality that is now being produced in the UK,” said Claire Murray, co-founder of the Wine People. “Both end consumers and trade have been extremely impressed with the quality, value for money and unique taste characteristics shown in the Bolney wines. People in China have a real hunger to taste new products and we are finding the fragrant, fruit forward style of English wines to be very appealing.”

The first Bolney shipment, featuring both still and sparkling wines, arrived just in time to be poured at a recent dinner hosted for HRH The Duke of York at the prestigious Shenzhen Bay Club. The Wine People have Bolney listings at several other high profile locations, including the Park Hyatt, Guangzhou and the newly opened Edition Hotel, Shanghai. The company is also offering Bolney’s range to end consumers via their online shop.

“Bolney is going from strength to strength,” said Sam Linter, chief winemaker at Bolney Wine Estate. “We’re incredibly proud that its popularity is now global, and not just for sparkling but our still English wines too.”

Last year saw mainland China import 7.5m litres of wine, a 17% increase on 2016, with a total value of US$2.79 billion. While a handful of UK producers have a presence in Hong Kong, Bolney is the first to tap directly into the far larger opportunity represented by the mainland.