The Grape Wall Challenge: The expert wine panel

The Grape Wall Challenge is this Friday in Maxim’s Solana and we have 18 judges coming to taste ~60 wines that retail for less than RMB100. The wines come from 20 China-based distributors.

(Note: This is NOT a public event. It is limited to the judges, the Challenge directors, the media, and Maxim’s employees. We will  work with interested distributors to do a public tasting of these same wines. Details to come.)

Here is a list of judges on our expert wine panel. We will also have two “consumer” panels – one for white wines, one for red – of six judges each. As mentioned earlier, at least 75 percent of the judges will be Chinese citizens (see more details here: 中文, English, or Francais).

Li Demei, Shandong
A graduate of ENITA in Bordeaux, Li is secretary of the China Viticulture & Enology Association. As a wine maker, he is closely associated with Sino-French Demonstration Vineyard. He also consults and writes about wine and teaches a wine appreciation course to university students in Beijing.

Huiqin Ma, Hebei
A professor at China Agricultural University and leader of its grape and wine research group, Ma studied at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology in South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. She is vice general secretary of the Chinese Society for Viticulture (CSV) and has taught a wine appreciation course to Chinese university students for a decade.


Yiftach Bar, Israel
Employed at the Beijing branch of Crown Wine Cellars, Bar is in charge of developing its wine storage facilities and club. He grew up with a wine-making grandfather and spent six years in France studying viticulture and wine making in Montpellier, France, and has made wines in the south of France and Tuscany.


Jin Yang, Hebei
Yang studied wine in France for five years at the Ecole Nationale d’Ingenieurs des Travaux Agricoles and the Institut des Sciences de la Nature et de l’Agroalimentaire, both in Bordeaux. He is involved in wine education in Beijing.


Carol Gao, Beijing
Gao is the manager of Aria restaurant in the China World Hotel. She holds a Level 2 certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET).


Alex Zhao, Beijing
Holder of a WSET Level 2 certificate, Zhao most recently worked in the wine section at Shangri-la Hotel’s Blu Lobster restaurant. He has taken wine tours of Spain and Italy.

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