Red wines a sign of the times in Australia's ties with US and China

As China's economic clout grows, Australia's divided loyalties are more acute than ever. Ahead of Saturday's election, both leading parties are steering clear of the subject.

Australian vineyards are increasingly producing red wines favoured by a growing market of Chinese drinkers. Australia's wine exports to the United States have fallen 37 per cent since 2008; exports to China have risen 959 per cent.
Australian vineyards are increasingly producing red wines favoured by a growing market of Chinese drinkers. Australia's wine exports to the United States have fallen 37 per cent since 2008; exports to China have risen 959 per cent.PHOTO: NYTIMES

SYDNEY • To understand why the Trump administration has struggled to build a global coalition of allies in its trade war with China, it helps to understand what is happening in the rolling hills and valleys of Australia's south-east and south-west coasts.

Vineyards that once made many crisp white wines and fruity red ones popular with American buyers are now also producing more austere reds, favoured by a segment of a rapidly expanding market of Chinese drinkers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Red wines a sign of the times in Australia's ties with US and China'. Print Edition | Subscribe