The Grape Wall of China Wine Challenge: March 13, Maxim’s, Beijing

The Grape Wall of China Wine Challenge

March 13, Maxim’s (Solana), Beijing



On March 13, eighteen judges will gather in Beijing for the first Grape Wall of China Challenge. The GWOC Challenge has three goals:

1. To judge 60 wines that retail in China for less than RMB100:

Since times are tough and the average wine purchase in China is below RMB100, we want to help consumers find wine that is inexpensive and good.

2. To involve wine consumers in the process:

The judges will include six professionals, who will taste all 60 wines, and two groups of six consumers, each of which will judge approximately 30 wines. No employees of wine distribution companies will be included as judges.

3. To involve locals in the process:

At least two-thirds of the judges will be Chinese citizens.

The professionals will judge each wine using a twenty-point system that covers color, aroma, and so on. The consumers will judge each wine as being in one of four categories: “Love it,” “Like it,” “Don’t like it”, and “Hate it.” All judges will have space to make written comments about the wines.

The GWOC Challenge will determine three sets of winners:

  • The professional panel’s picks
  • The consumer panel’s picks
  • The combined panels’ picks

Details on how distributors can join the Challenge will be posted on Wednesday at 10 AM. In order to be fair to everyone, they will only be posted on this blog. All distributors will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis. No entries will be accepted before this time.

The Challenge directors are contributors to Grape Wall of China. They are Frankie Zhao, owner of Pro-Wine Consultancy, Nicolas Carre, general manager of Maxim’s (Solana), and Jim Boyce, founder of this site.

If you have questions about the contest, please send them to

Look for a second Grape Wall of China Challenge to soon be announced, that one focused on Chinese wines.

Thanks to Ma Huiqin for the Chinese translation.

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  1. 8 Songs,

    Simply due to time issues. No doubt they can use a more complicated score sheet, but the majority of them will not be able to keep up with the pros, and this would cause logistics problems. Frankly, even with the pros, in the end what matters is not the individual scores for color, aroma, and so on, but total score. And for those consumers who do have ideas about these individual components, they can list them in the comments section.

    Cheers, Jim

  2. Jim,

    why are the consumer judges being relegated to the simplistic scoring system? Do you consider them not being capable of looking at colour, sniffing the wine, and tasting it? Shouldn’t they at least be given a choice?

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