By J. Boyce
When it comes to wine in China, Bordeaux brand Chateau Lafite has long been the heavyweight champion of not only the rich, famous and well-connected but also of the country’s many knock-off artists. They know that by aping the label and simply changing a letter or two of the name, they can piggyback on the success of Lafite.
Now one local producer, I.P. Hu, aims to deliver a one-two punch to hundreds of competitors by merging two legends: French wine and Chinese martial arts. He calls the wine “Chateau LaFight” and hopes it is a winner.
“I want my customers to have the best of France and China,” Hu said at his shop in Lido. “That is why the label reminds them the legends of Lafite and kung fu. Our motto is: powerful French wine, powerful Chinese people.”
Hu offers several grades of wine that he bases on the martial arts system and denotes by colored belts on the necks of the bottles. A white belt contains imported bulk wine from Bulgaria, while a blue belt and black belt contain imported bulk wine from Chile and Australia respectively.
Although Hu is considering a platinum belt, the highest level at the moment is the red belt, since that color is considered lucky in China. It contains imported bulk wine from France and costs him “nearly one euro per liter”, says Hu. It also retails for RMB888, as Hu also says 8 is a lucky number. Thus the label includes a border of 8s and the vintage is permanently set at 1888.
The name LaFight was not an automatic choice, says Hu. Take the ‘brown belt‘ wine: it was especially aromatic and could be smelled more than 100 feet away. In fact, one critic described it as like a “durian fist in a stinky tofu glove”. Thus, Hu’s marketing team considered calling it LaFart and LaFeet. But both names were deemed to lack class and in the end LaFight prevailed.
And as you probably know, THIS IS AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKE.
(Hat tip to ET for the design work.)
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