PARIS, June 23 State-owned Chinese food group Bright Food is to buy a 70 percent stake in Bordeaux wine exporter Diva to gain a foothold in the wine-making region, the French merchant said.
China, the biggest importer of Bordeaux wines, saw wine consumption soar 110 percent in 2011.
Bright Food will pay an undisclosed sum for its stake in Diva, a privately-held business that makes 45 percent of its sales in China and 60 percent in Asian markets.
"This will give Diva a better knowledge of the Chinese market and will boost the firm's means to sell its products," a spokeswoman said on Saturday, adding Diva sold a wide range of wine qualities, including grand crus - the designation for classified vintage wines of the finest quality.
Of 11,000 chateaux along the Garonne river in Bordeaux, 15-20 have been sold to Chinese investors since 2008 and another 30 could soon change hands.
Analysts have said that trend will intensify, despite China being among the world's 10 largest domestic wine producers.
While Chinese businesses and individuals have shown their interest in buying wine-growing properties, it was the first time a Chinese firm has made a move into French wine trading. (Reporting By Muriel Boselli; Editing by Dan Lalor)