Flashback from France: A look at Vinexpo 2009

By Yvonne Chiong

grape wall of china wine blog vinexpo 2009 yvonne chiong

Life and wine move in tandem: When you have lots of money, you can find the best wines to drink, and when you are down on your luck, you can look for the best value. As a sommelier and a consultant, it has taken me more than 10 years of ups and downs, of tasting and learning, to be the wine drinker I am today. But while there are sommeliers of all kinds in the world, they have one thing in common – a desire to share the joy of wine with the people they meet. Thus, I am really happy to read about the recent sommelier competition in China that gave some good people in wine service a chance to show their skills.

Now, from France: I recently went to Bordeaux to attend Vinexpo 2009, an event that shifts each year between France and Hong Kong. It is for wine and spirit producers from the world over to meet and exchange information and find new buyers. This year’s exhibition had a reported 2,400 exhibitors from 48 countries, an increase of 6 countries. As well as a huge array of wines and spirits on display, there were chefs teaming up with wineries, and this included a culinary art demonstration by Thierry Marx at the Jean Michel Cazes stand. (Oh, and by the way, there was a hairdresser in Hall 1 for those who wanted to take a break!)

I enjoyed being able to meet friends in the industry and talk to them about the China wine scene. My first stop: Henri Bourgeois from Loire, who had one of the Sauvignons that I enjoyed most. I quickly asked him if his wines were selling well in China .

He replied: “It has been alright but there is still a lot to do and a lot to sell… [we are] putting our hands into molding the wine market in China with our distributor to make [consumers] much more knowledgeable.”

I stopped by the Bordeaux stand to meet Thibault Delpech – I first met him in Bordeaux in 2003 and he is now residing in Shanghai and representing the negociant / brand owner Ginestet for Asia Pacific. I asked him if the market in China was slowing down. He said it was and that some of the dynamics have changed, and that he is visiting more secondary cities in China. He said that the market is still expanding despite the economic downturn.

David Launay, export manager from Chateau Gruauy Larose in Saint Julien, then stopped by. He added that he has also seen some shifts in the market, but is nevertheless making two trips per year to China, with the next coming in November for the UGC (Union des Grands Crus) tasting.

I carried on tasting and was excited to end the night with Chateau Citran, from Haut Medoc, as I was invited for dinner by my favorite man in Bordeaux, chateau owner Antione Merlaut. I asked him about the China market and he said that despite the economic downturn, it is going pretty strong. He has heard some suppliers have suffered, but his wines are still selling well.

And we had no shortage of wines that evening, from an interesting aperitif, La Rosee de Citran 2008, an amazingly fresh wine with balanced acidity that is only of limited production and not sold to the public, to a magnum of Chateau Chasse Spleen 1999, compliments of owner Celine Villars Fourbet of the Merlaut family, to an imperial of Chateau Citran 1988 to end the dinner.

Good content takes resources. If you find Grape Wall useful, help cover its costs via PayPal, WeChat or credit / debit card. Also check out Grape Wall on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram. And sibling sites World Marselan Day, World Baijiu Day and Beijing Boyce.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply