September 2009

No worries: Australia targeting China wine market at every level

September 30, 2009 // 3 Comments

Australia – excuse an indirect kangaroo reference – is really hopping when it comes to the China wine scene. First, the country has maintained a steady presence as the number two source of bottled wine by volume, taking 20 percent to 22 percent of the market the past five years, according to Customs. In the first six months of 2009, it trailed only France, the leader with a ~40 percent share, had twice as much volume as the United States, and about triple that of both Italy and Chile. Second, Australia is striving to change its image from being a […]

Drinker beware: Canadian wine label controversey holds lessons for China

September 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Most consumers are unaware that many of the “Chinese” wines they find in supermarkets, restaurants, and elsewhere include imported bulk wine. The amount of bulk wine in the market in recent years is somewhere between 10 percent and 40 percent, with those numbers ranging from official statistics to estimates based on the double-counting of local wine production. To be fair, blending imported wines with Chinese ones tends to improve overall quality (see some reasons here). To be even fairer, producers should note on the label if a bottle includes imported wine, something that is rarely done. Unfortunately, […]

Whistle wetter: Summergate to distribute Vittel water in China

September 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Summergate Fine Wines has announced it will exclusively import and distribute Vittel still mineral water, from France, for the China market starting in October. The range of products includes 1 liter glass bottles and 330 ML, 500 ML, and 1.5 ML plastic bottles. Summergate also imports and distributes Perrier sparkling mineral water.

Accepting applications: Landmark Australia tutorial set for next September in Yarra Valley

September 28, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Wine Australia announced today that its second Landmark Australia tutorial will be held next September in Yarra Valley. Twelve wine experts from around the world, including Bell Pei Tang from China and Rebecca Leung from Hong Kong, participated in the inaugural five-day event last June in the Barossa Valley. This time around, applications from Australian wine experts will also be accepted. Penfold’s chief wine maker Peter Gago and Yalumba Wine Company head Robert Hill Smith will again participate. To apply, or for more details, see this page on the Wine Australia site.

By bulk, by bottle: Is Chile the key to changing China’s wine scene?

September 28, 2009 // 2 Comments

By Jim Boyce Random wine thought I had while drinking a beer last night: Could Chile be the key to shifting the China wine market? Consider four things: 1.According to Customs, roughly 55 percent of the imported bulk wine entering China the last three years – 170 million liters of 305 million liters – hailed from Chile. This included ~45 percent last year. The vast majority is blended with domestic wine and sold under local labels. 2. In terms of official statistics, bulk wine accounted for ~12 percent of the market in 2008. Industry observers such as Ma Huiqin, who […]

Wine jobs in China: Maison Boulud in Beijing seeks head, junior sommeliers

September 27, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce French restaurant Maison Boulud in Beijing seeks a head sommelier to handle everything from wine service to overseeing the wine list to maintaining the cellar. It also seeks a junior sommelier. For more details on these positions, or to submit your resume, contact Ignace LeCleir at Maison Boulud is the first Daniel Boulud restaurant in China and is regularly ranked among the best in Beijing. It is in the former American embassy in the Ch’ienmen 23 compound.

Sour grapes: When it comes to poor Chinese wine, don’t shoot the wine maker

September 24, 2009 // 6 Comments

– By Jim Boyce The past few months, I have been lucky to visit wineries along the northern swath of China – in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Shanxi, and Hebei. One thing I notice: the wines made by many producers do not always reflect the skill of the wine makers. As they say, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and you can’t make good wine without some decent grapes. I wrote about this recently for The Global Times. In short, I noted three challenges many wine makers have in China: 1. Because wine producers source most of their grapes […]

Fill your glass without emptying your wallet in Beijing: Torres Taste of Nations, Hilton Wine Experience

September 14, 2009 // 0 Comments

If, as I do, you like the sound of filling your glass with dozens of wines while only emptying your wallet of a few kuai, then good times are coming as two of the best-value annual Beijing events are almost upon us. First, Torres China will hold its third annual Taste of the Nations event on Saturday, September 26, from 2 PM to 5:30 PM at the Chilean embassy. The event will include 150 wines from a dozen countries. Tickets are RMB208 at the door, RMB188 prepaid – contact Sophie Sun at / 5165-5519, extension 208. Then, the Hilton […]

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