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By Jim Boyce
Australian writer Jeremy Oliver visited Beijing last week to promote his new Chinese-language book “Enjoy Wine” that he says will help “young Chinese people learn about wine in a way they are happy and comfortable with.” The book is split between explaining the basics, from opening a bottle to ensuring proper storage, and information and tasting notes on 290 Australian wines available in China.
Oliver said the book specifically targets readers in their late twenties, especially those who have a university education, a job (and thus disposable income), an interest in wine, and “haven’t had years of people telling them French is the best.”
“I don’t want to look like some smart-ass who blows in from overseas”, said Oliver while explaining that his book is not aimed at telling Chinese what to drink but at helping them to enjoy wine and discover what they like. He added that the Chinese market is growing at a such a pace that most people who will be drinking wine in ten years are not drinking it now, thus showing the importance of information for beginners.
Enjoy Wine is published by Trends, with support from ASC Fine Wines, which assisted with the translation, handled the logistics of his book tour to cities such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, and will distribute the book to the wine trade. The book is already available in shops (I spotted it this week in the first-floor kiosk at the Capital Club). The Australian wines listed in the book include those distributed by ASC as well as numerous other distributors.
I asked Oliver which Australian wines he would recommend to a Chinese new to wine. Here are some of his picks:
Yellowtail Shiraz and Merlot: “They are so open and generous, and they have an element of sweetness and good balance. [The people at] Yellowtail are bloody clever.”
Angove’s Red Belly Black: Open, fresh, and easy to understand.”
Petaluma Riesling 2008: “Talk about a wine to go with a large whack of Chinese food.”
Jacob’s Creek Riesling: “Always punches above its weight. I just hate the fact they put it in a Bordeaux bottle.”
Brown Brothers Sienna: “I have seen young Chinese people go ballistic over it.” (Note: This wine is not listed in the book.)
Enjoy Wine is is Oliver’s first book in a language other than English and he says the plan is to make it an annual. I will post more about his take on the China and Australia wine sectors as well as a tasting he led that compared Australian and French wines to show their different styles.
More posts by Jim Boyce