By Jim Boyce
On November 8, many of the wine world’s biggest names — Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson,Â Miguel Torres, Michel Rolland, and dozens more — will be in Hong Kong for the finale ofÂ Wine Future 2011.
On the same day, a dozen Chinese consumers — people whose names you probably haven’t heard — will be in Beijing blind-tasting wines that retail for less than rmb100, as part of the third annual Grape Wall of China Challenge.
Which event is more important? Hey, the Grape Wall Challenge might lack the star power of Wine Future, but it does have practical aims, namely, to give consumers confidence and to find out what they enjoy!
Anyway, this year the GWC will be held in Sanlitun Village in Modo, the sibling of restaurant Mosto, and the first place to install card-based enomatic machines — last September — in Beijing. The GWC will bring together Chinese consumers to ‘blind’ taste imported wines that retail for under rmb100. We organize the event for several reasons.
- There is no shortage of wine recommendations from “experts“, that is, people working in the industry. The GWC aims to get an idea of what casual wine drinkers enjoy.
- There is plenty of coverage of top wines but not much about cheaper ones, although they account for most buys. The GWC hopes to find good but inexpensive bottles.
- Many people are intimidated by wine, whether it is on a restaurant menu or a supermarket shelf. The GWC wants to give consumers confidence and underscore that wine preferences are personal and judging wine is no mystery.
- The eventÂ is fun.
A feature of this year’s Grape Wall Challenge: the winning wines will go into Modo’s enomatic machines.
I’ll post more details, including how distributors can participate, on Wednesday. See here for details about GWC 2010 at Maison Boulud and here for details about GWC 2009 at Maxim’s Solana.
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