Employment and Trade Minister Louise Asher today invited China's leading wine buyers to join the Victorian Coalition Government's upcoming Super Inbound Wine Mission, scheduled for May 2015.
Speaking at a Victorian Wine Seminar in Chengdu, China, Ms Asher said developing new business relationships in fast-growing international markets was central to the future success of many Victorian industries, including wine.
"The Napthine Government is proud to be hosting Australia's first large-scale inbound trade mission specifically targeting international wine buyers from key markets across Asia and around the world," Ms Asher said.
"In recent years, China has become our most valuable wine export market, with wine exports to the country increasing from $22 million in 2008 to $56 million per annum in 2013.
"The Super Inbound Wine Mission will further accelerate this growth by familiarising more senior Chinese wine buyers with the best wines from our state's distinct wines regions and introducing them to leading Victorian wineries."
With more than 800 wineries located across 21 wine regions, Victoria is renowned globally for producing a wide variety of high quality wines, from fine sparkling wine and high quality Pinot Noir to Shiraz and fortified wines.
Victoria currently exports 120 million litres of wine per year to almost 80 countries.
Ms Asher is currently leading the Victorian Government's 2014 Victoria Week Trade Mission China, which features 120 companies, including 17 wine companies and Victoria's peak wine body.
The mission is visiting eight priority cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Liuzhou. It will build on the success of previous Victorian trade missions to China, including the highly successful Super Trade Missions in September 2012 and October last year.
Ms Asher also spoke at an event in Chengdu promoting Victoria as a leading tourism destination and one of the world's premier centres for major international sporting and cultural events.
"We are committed to growing the number of Chinese visitors, and not just from established markets such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong; we recognise the importance of markets such as Sichuan and the broader Western China region," Ms Asher said.
China is Victoria's largest source market for international tourists, with more than 352,000 Chinese overnight visitors to the state in the 12 months to June 2014, representing a 16.4 per cent increase compared with the previous year.
In the same period, Chinese visitors stayed a total of 9.7 million nights in Victoria, injecting $1.3 billion into the state's economy.
Since December 2010, the Victorian Coalition Government has supported more than 3,100 local companies on 76 trade missions to over 30 countries, with participating companies reporting projected exports worth more than $4.7 billion in the 24-month period following the mission.