Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), one of the ASX stocks hit the most by the freeze in ties with China, says it hasn’t given up just yet.

The Melbourne headquartered wine distributor, which owns brands including Penfolds, had China as a major market prior to COVID-19.

China’s growing middle class led to Australian food and wine exporters targeting the company to the point where Australia was as reliant on China as it was to Britain back in the 1950s.

But diplomatic tensions, triggered most particularly by calls for an investigations into the origins of COVID-19, led to tariffs of around 200 per cent on Australian wines.

Its share price is down nearly a third in the past two years although it has recovered somewhat from lows seen in the middle of last year.

It’s profit is down too from $419.5 million in FY19 to just over $300 million in both FY20 and FY21.

Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) share price chart


Not giving up

The company said it expected COVID-19 to continue to impact the business for some months to come and that the effective closure of the Chinese wine market for Australians was significant.

But in an address to shareholders, Chairman Paul Rayner said it wasn’t the end.

“We remain committed to the China market for the long term and continue to invest in our team, our brands and our relationships with customers and consumers,” he said.

Nonetheless, Rayner said his company was progressing in other markets.

Excluding China, stock depletions of Penfolds in Asian markets rose by 19% in the three months to August.

The company said it was also building growth in North America and the UK.