Grape Wall Challenge: Event notes and photo gallery

Judges Li Demei, Jin Yang, and Kong Wei Guo check the whites wines after they finish scoring.

The Grape Wall Challenge last Friday in Beijing brought together 18 judges to taste wines that retail in China for under RMB100 (see gallery below). The challenge was a first in that it was organized by a blog, saw half of the judging done by consumers, and included  Chinese citizens as 16 of 18 judges. (They hailed from Anhui, Beijing, Hebei, Hubei, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Sichuan, and Tianjin.) It aimed to find good but affordable wines and to  involve consumers in the process.

During the morning, the expert and consumer panels judged 21 whites wines; the afternoon saw a fresh panel of consumers join the experts to try 23 red wines. The wines hailed from Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the United States, as submitted by 14 wine importers and distributors in China. The distributors were ASC, Aussino, BJ Winestore, DCT, DT Asia, East Meets West, French Wine Paradox, Gelipu, Label France, Links, Palette, Summergate, Top Cellar, and Torres.

The results of the white wine panels will be released at ~1 PM today, with the results of the red wine panels coming at ~3 PM. During the week, we will list the top three picks of each judge.

The sponsors of the Grape Wall Challenge are Maxim’s Solana, Pro-Wine Consulting, and Winpact, which provided gifts for the judges. Special mention goes to the following who either gave or pledged their time or money (RMB200 each) to help support the event: Steven Schwankert (SinoScuba), KS, Paul Adkins, Badr Benjelloun, Chandler Jurinka (Local Noodles), Elisabeth Tchoudjinoff, and Tim Zhang.

Last but not least, the following judges gave their time for the event (click the links for more details):

  • Expert panel: Demei LI, Huiqin MA, Yiftach BAR, Yang JIN, Carol GAO, and Alex ZHAO
  • Consumer panel (white wine): Huihui ‘Grace’ SUN, Guomei ‘Natalie’ LIANG, Yu WANG, Chuan LEI, Ying ‘Jane’ ZHANG, Leo ZENG, and Tao ‘Mario’ YUAN.
  • Consumer panel (red wine): Brian YAO, Frank SIEGEL, Ivy LIU, Weiguo KONG, Yu WANG, and Miao WONG.

The Grape Wall Challenge directors were Nicolas Carre, Frankie Zhao, and Jim Boyce. They jointly tabulated the scores.

Look for future posts about the biggest challenges of putting on such a contest, about what went right and what could be improved, and about an upcoming Grape Wall Challenge (boutique Chinese wines anyone?). We will also work with interested participating distributors to hold a public tasting of these same wines. We plan to call it “You be the judge.

See also:


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