Posted on | September 19, 2011 | No Comments
All the wine world’s a stage and China keeps getting bigger roles. China Wine Press looks at media coverage of that drama, with each item preceded by an inane comment from me, just to keep things real. By J. Boyce
(I bet those investment bankers know how to multiply by ten.)
China’s size makes generalizations about the “Chinese wine lover” impossible, states English wine writer Jancis Robinson in The Financial Times, and then provides one courtesy of a Chinese man who, like about one in every 50 million consumers in this country*, buys first-growth by the barrel.
Better (worse?), she recalls a post-lunch wine class she gave to some Chinese investment bankers just after they finished a week of training in England. It seems that on top of being ignorant about wine, and in numerous cases being vulgar, they also swallowed rather than spit – even right after lunch! I don’t know. Maybe they were happy about the end of training. Or bored. Whatever the case, you be the judge as to whether or not this piece is condescending.
(I also found it strange to see Wine Searcher described as “blessed” for having prices in renminbi. The exchange rate with the pound is easy enough to figure out at ten to one.)
* Rough guess
See “Red Rises in China“
(My guess why? Because wine distribution in China is really freaking hard.)
Amy Chung of Postmedia News writes about Canadian wine producers breaking into, or trying to break into, the China wine market. The focus is on professional poker player / wine producer Hodger Clausen of Aces Winery, though she quotes people from other operations, including Peller, Vineland and Inniskillin. This part struck me as needing clarification:
Re-orders came in twelvefold for his poker-chip designed bottles, which are selling for between $30 and $102 in China – a 30 per cent markup from the retail price in Canada.
I mean, this wine should be more expensive in China given there are import tariffs and duties of ~48 percent, right? If fact, I find it surprising it is only 30 percent more.
By the way, file this sentence in the “ain’t it the truth” section: “Everybody wants to be an importer, but no one wants to get into distribution.“
(A story about Lafite without an anecdote about it being mixed with Coke or Sprite? How dare you, Jake Lee!)
A bit dated but this post by Jake Lee in the Wall Street Journal nevertheless covers some interesting items at a recent Hong Kong wine auction:
While normal lots in top-tier wine auctions are typically made up of around a case, Lot 44 comprised 25 cases of Lafite from every year between 1981 and 2005, averaging around $1,800 a bottle. The entire two-day sale raised $7.6 million, with Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Moët & Chandon champagne from 1911, and Bordeaux’s ultra-rare 1982 Le Pin making up other top slots.