Australian Natural | Ross Tan and Nick van Leeuwen on organic wine, ‘affordable luxury’ and why everyone loves the pig

August 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ross Tan and Nick van Leeuwen of Australian Natural have spent most of their first year in business relentlessly promoting their organic and biodynamic wines in China. Here is a quick and dirty earthy interview about their organic wines and their views of the market. How would you explain organic wine and biodynamic wine in one sentence each? Nick: Organics contrasts with “industrial” or “conventional” practices by prohibiting any use of synthetic chemicals or artificial fertilisers in the vineyard or any chemical additives–other than minimal sulphur dioxide–in the winery. Ross: Whilst organics is about what growers cannot do, biodynamics goes further and […]

China Wine Press | Beijing-based Niche Retailers

August 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Wine Business International–get more info about the publication here and subscribe here–that covered a handful of wine retailers in Beijing. I realize some people will read the article and say, “But what about [name of distributor]?” or “How come you didn’t include [name of distributor]?” Chalk it up to the realities of time (we had to go to press before I could find that rumored organic Tannan supplier from Uruguay) and space (there are probably more sales channels in this city that words in my article). Time and space, my friends, they always get […]

Reality Check II | China’s wine market is NOT double the size of the US’

August 12, 2015 // 2 Comments

A few months ago, BBC reported that China had overtaken France as a wine-growing region based on statistics from the OIV. It turned out that while China had more vineyards, most were for table grapes, and the country’s wine production was but a quarter that of France. (See this post: Reality Check.) Now another startling claim: that the China wine market is the world’s biggest and more than double that of runner-up The United States. The source seems to be this story in The Globe and Mail: “China’s wine consumption in 2014 was more than double that of the No. 2 consumer, the United States, according […]

China bubbles | Grace Vineyard to release four sparkling wines in late August

July 28, 2015 // 2 Comments

This is a summer of novel launches for Grace Vineyard in Shanxi, with the slate including not only the veteran winery’s first offerings of Syrah, Marselan and Aglianico, but also four sparkling wines. Those bubblies will be available under the label Angelina in late August, says owner Judy Chan. Expect a brut reserve,  aged on lees for five years, plus Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc options. I had a chance to try the reserve-in-progress two years ago at a party, and last year at the winery, and it will be interesting to see how it turned out. Good Chinese bubblies are […]

New wine, old bottle? | Jia Bei Lan vs Jia Bei Lan raises IPR and status issues in China’s wine scene

July 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hey guys, is it just me or do these two wine labels look alike? The ‘Jia Mei Lan‘ at left, which is apparently a new brand, seems strikingly similar to the ‘Jia Bei Lan‘ at right, which is made by Helan Qing Xue and is well-respected due to a decade of hard work. Yes, it’s somewhat cruder–the mountains look like they were drawn by an eight-year-old whose had a few glasses–but the two labels are too close for comfort in my opinion. Word is that Jia Mei Lan was made by one of the better wineries in Ningxia, and the buyer received the […]

Calipournia: California Wine Institute just launched a very smart tour in China

July 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Regional wine groups should keep an eye on a tour the California Wine Institute (CWI) just launched in China. This project goes far beyond the usual stops like Shanghai and Beijing and instead will feature master classes and consumer events in more than 20 cities in China. It started earlier this week and Chris Beros, the head of CWI in China, says the first three-city leg is already a big success. “I think the key takeaways from the last two days have been, first of all, that turnout has been exceptionally good, much bigger than we expected,” says Beros. He says […]

Event | Grower’s Champagne and Peruvian snacks in Beijing tonight

July 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

I just posted an interview with Charles Simon of grower’s Champagne seller Seina and it’s notable that the company will team up tonight with Peruvian pop-up bar Buena Onda in Beijing. Get a bottle of Grand Cru Champagne at rmb299, which, if you live in Beijing, you will know is an incredibly low price, and pair it with Peruvian eats. For rmb100, you can get salmon tartare and three dips, and there is other food as well. See the poster for details.  

Wine word: Charles Simon on ‘Grower’s Champagne’ in China

July 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

We are seeing more and more quality bubbly in Beijing, whether from major players such as France, Spain and Italy or lesser-known ones such as South Africa, Chile and China. That includes so-called ‘Grower’s Champagne‘.  I asked Charles Simon of Seina a few questions about this category of wine and the products he sells. The price of Champagne in Beijing is often three times or more than Cava or Prosecco or other sparkling wines. Why is it so expensive? This is quite a complex topic as you need to consider many aspects of the business. The price difference starts even before […]

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