Reality Check II | China’s wine market is NOT double the size of the US’

August 12, 2015 // 2 Comments

A few months ago, BBC reported that China had overtaken France as a wine-growing region based on statistics from the OIV. It turned out that while China had more vineyards, most were for table grapes, and the country’s wine production was but a quarter that of France. (See this post: Reality Check.) Now another startling claim: that the China wine market is the world’s biggest and more than double that of runner-up The United States. The source seems to be this story in The Globe and Mail: “China’s wine consumption in 2014 was more than double that of the No. 2 consumer, the United States, according […]

China bubbles | Grace Vineyard to release four sparkling wines in late August

July 28, 2015 // 2 Comments

This is a summer of novel launches for Grace Vineyard in Shanxi, with the slate including not only the veteran winery’s first offerings of Syrah, Marselan and Aglianico, but also four sparkling wines. Those bubblies will be available under the label Angelina in late August, says owner Judy Chan. Expect a brut reserve,  aged on lees for five years, plus Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc options. I had a chance to try the reserve-in-progress two years ago at a party, and last year at the winery, and it will be interesting to see how it turned out. Good Chinese bubblies are […]

New wine, old bottle? | Jia Bei Lan vs Jia Bei Lan raises IPR and status issues in China’s wine scene

July 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

Hey guys, is it just me or do these two wine labels look alike? The ‘Jia Mei Lan‘ at left, which is apparently a new brand, seems strikingly similar to the ‘Jia Bei Lan‘ at right, which is made by Helan Qing Xue and is well-respected due to a decade of hard work. Yes, it’s somewhat cruder–the mountains look like they were drawn by an eight-year-old whose had a few glasses–but the two labels are too close for comfort in my opinion. Word is that Jia Mei Lan was made by one of the better wineries in Ningxia, and the buyer received the […]

Calipournia: California Wine Institute just launched a very smart tour in China

July 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Regional wine groups should keep an eye on a tour the California Wine Institute (CWI) just launched in China. This project goes far beyond the usual stops like Shanghai and Beijing and instead will feature master classes and consumer events in more than 20 cities in China. It started earlier this week and Chris Beros, the head of CWI in China, says the first three-city leg is already a big success. “I think the key takeaways from the last two days have been, first of all, that turnout has been exceptionally good, much bigger than we expected,” says Beros. He says […]

Event | Grower’s Champagne and Peruvian snacks in Beijing tonight

July 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

I just posted an interview with Charles Simon of grower’s Champagne seller Seina and it’s notable that the company will team up tonight with Peruvian pop-up bar Buena Onda in Beijing. Get a bottle of Grand Cru Champagne at rmb299, which, if you live in Beijing, you will know is an incredibly low price, and pair it with Peruvian eats. For rmb100, you can get salmon tartare and three dips, and there is other food as well. See the poster for details.  

Wine word: Charles Simon on ‘Grower’s Champagne’ in China

July 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

We are seeing more and more quality bubbly in Beijing, whether from major players such as France, Spain and Italy or lesser-known ones such as South Africa, Chile and China. That includes so-called ‘Grower’s Champagne‘.  I asked Charles Simon of Seina a few questions about this category of wine and the products he sells. The price of Champagne in Beijing is often three times or more than Cava or Prosecco or other sparkling wines. Why is it so expensive? This is quite a complex topic as you need to consider many aspects of the business. The price difference starts even before […]

China wine distribution: Summergate and Ningxia’s Kanaan sign deal

July 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce After months of rumors, importer / distributor Summergate officially inked a deal with Ningxia producer Kanaan during a ceremony in Shanghai. Kanaan has achieved accolades from critics at home and abroad during the past two years, both for its whites, including a dry Riesling and a semisweet Riesling-Chardonnay, and for its Cabernet-Merlot blends. Owner Wang Fang lived in Germany for nearly a decade before returning home determined to make Riesling and quickly established herself on the China scene. Headed by Ian Ford, Summergate has more than 15 years of experience in the China market and is partnered with retailer Pudao Wines. […]

Eureka! Check out California Wine Institute’s new project in China

June 30, 2015 // 1 Comment

My experience with U.S. regional wine promotions in China has not been great during the past decade or so. Yes, I have managed to get on the radar for some events, including a few good ones, but I have often wondered what it takes to remain a blip. A California Wine Institute (CWI) tasting earlier this month in Beijing is a good example. I only knew about the event due to Alex Chen, of U.S. wine importer and distributor Alexander Wines in Shanghai, a single contact that apparently gave me greater guanxi than many other people. This was evident when I showed up to a […]

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