October 2008

Unbottled: A foreign reporter misrepresents China’s wine industry

October 31, 2008 // 6 Comments

By Ma Huiqin Tim Johnson, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, wrote a blog post this week and cited an anonymous source – purportedly a Chinese winery executive – whose claims include that 80 percent of wine bottled in China is imported bulk “garbage.” The post has been picked up by several influential sites, including Wine Business International. There is little doubt that China’s wine industry has problems, ranging from the misrepresentation of vintages by some firms to a lack of consistent quality. But exaggeration by Johnson and the source he cites, described as a “heartsick chairman,” does not […]

Beijing tasting time: Trimbach, Taylor, and more

October 29, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce A quick look at some of this week’s upcoming wine tastings. For the long-term view, including a slew of Beaujolais Nouveau parties by French Wine Paradox, check this events page. – Thursday, October 30, 7-8.30 PM, Bento & Berries Shop (Kerry Centre Hotel), free Sparkling wine, Champagne & Beaujolais tasting, by Top Cellar; RSVP at www.topcellar.com.cn, marketing@topcellar.com.cn, or 13691-079-531. – Thursday, October 30, 6:30 PM, Legendale, RMB688+15% Trimbach wine dinner, with wine winery owner Hubert Trimbach; by ASC Fine Wines; RSVP with Helen Lu at eventsbj@asc-wines.com / 6587-3803. – Thursday, October 30, 7 PM, Aria (China World […]

Carrefour October wine fair: Picture this

October 27, 2008 // 1 Comment

These give an idea of the scale of the Carrefour October Wine Fair held last week. From the looks of it, they were taken before all of the glasses ran out. Thanks to Echo Liu for the photos. You can find her Greek Wine in China page on Facebook. – See also: October Wine Fair picks: Southern Exposure October Wine Fair: Bring your own glass? April Wine Fair: By / buy the case

Vintage tasting: City Weekend surveys Beijing’s wine scene… in 1998

October 26, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce A few weeks ago, I popped into Jenny Lou’s gourmet shop near Chaoyang Park and counted around 100 different sparkling wines. One hundred! Choice in Beijing, in terms of shops, tastings, and restaurant, bar, and hotel wine lists, is incredibly diverse when compared to a few years back. Case in point: this 1998 City Weekend story about a tasting of four local and four imported wines. Author Anne Stevenson-Yang noted the difficulty of finding imported wine, particularly at a reasonable price, and posited: “So when you’re thinking of uncorking a red to go with dinner, you may […]

Carrefour wine fair picks: Southern exposure

October 24, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce I tried about 40 samples at last night’s Carrefour wine fair, which – given the freebies and discounts – saw both shoppers and shopping carts fully loaded. (Note: See bring your own glass for suggestions on how to make this event better.) Making a strong showing: brands that feature animals on their labels or the words “ridge“, “crossing“, “leap“, and “jump” in their names. It is only a matter of time before some marketing pioneer takes things up a notch or two and creates “Ridge’s Crossing”, “Crossing’s Ridge”, or even “Ridge-Crossing’s Leap-Jump” with a label that stars […]

Carrefour wine fair 2008: Bring your own glass?

October 24, 2008 // 3 Comments

By Jim Boyce Carrefour held its October wine fair in Beijing last night. As in the past, it drew a strong turnout and featured: Samples from hundreds of wines from several dozen distributors; Discounts on all bottles; Chinese and expatriates sipping wine and buying in bulk – you could say both shoppers and shopping carts were fully loaded. I tried forty wines and in the end bought three (see Southern exposure). As for the event, I found it fun, but somewhat sloppy, and suggest three easy ways that Carrefour and the wine distributors could make the next one in Beijing […]

Eureka! California Wine Institute brings Golden State wineries to China

October 22, 2008 // 1 Comment

Dozens of Golden State winery reps poured for distributors, restaurateurs, journalists, and consumers as the California Wine Institute held a two-hour tasting last Friday at 1949: The Hidden City in Beijing. My notes will take time to decipher, given they look – as Ring Lardner might have put it – “like the output of a 3 yr. old child with a satisfied craving for brandy.” For the moment, a few observations: – The event featured about 70 California producers, some of which were strictly there to find potential distributors, and it required a steady pace to hit every table in […]

Words get in the way: The China sommelier contest and the challenge of wine vocabulary

October 21, 2008 // 3 Comments

By Chantal Chi Everything related to wine is chic in China and that goes for sommeliers. I remember three years ago when sommelier was just a simple French word, but now it has become a symbol of high class in the wine world of China. Well, I am not surprised. Chinese learn quickly once they decide to engage a subject as they have with wine. In late September in Shanghai, Penfolds and its local agent ASC Fine Wines co-organized the first sommelier competition in China. I helped “give birth” to this event by participating on the four-member judging panel as […]

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