Grape education: know your varietals

Get to know your Sauvignon Blanc from your Chenin Blanc and your Cabernet Sauvignon from your Cabernet Franc as wine educators Fongyee Walker and Edward Ragg lead a tutorial titled “A Variety of Varietals: I” on September 6 at the Park Plaza Hotel in conjunction with the Oxford Cambridge Club Beijing.

“In this sit-down, tutored tasting you will enjoy a selection of eight wines, refine your tasting techniques and increase your vinous knowledge followed by a buffet dinner,” states the invite. In other words, you’re going to feel a whole lot smarter by the time you’re downing those plates of pasta and sashimi.

The 250-kuai tutorial fee covers the wine, tasting sheets (in English and Chinese) and a buffet in Park Plaza’s Bloo Dining. There are only 27 seats, thus reservations are mandatory, and those cancelling less than 48 hours before the event will still be asked to pay – don’t mess with these guys! For more details or to RSVP, contact Fongyee Walker at

Walker and Ragg are both former captains of the Cambridge University Varsity Wine Tasting Team, have judged wine competitions, including London’s ‘International Wine Challenge’ and the ‘Shanghai International Wine Challenge’, co-author that’s Beijing magazine’s wine column and are able to draw air into their mouths while tasting wine, thus making that very weird gurgling/sucking sound (and can teach you that, too!).

By the way, I started a Facebook group called “China Wine”- anyone interested in the topic is free to join.

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