Duck, duck… goose egg? China’s food and wine pairing study stirs pot

A group of wine professors in Beijing has finished a two-year study that might have major implications for the world wine trade. The group’s mission: to eat, drink and find good Chinese food and wine pairings. With thousands of meals under its collective belt, the group came to a one-word conclusion about what paired well: nothing.

“Nothing. Zilch. Goose egg,” said Professor Ha Muwa at a press conference yesterday to announce the result. “We tried dish after dish and wine after wine. We went back and tried again and again. Frankly, grape wine simply doesn’t work with any Chinese foods.”

Not even Pinot Noir and Beijing duck?

“No,” said Ha. “You want to know what pairs well with Beijing duck? More Beijing duck.”

The finding is sure to shock the global wine intelligentsia, since much of its power derives from insecure consumers who fret about picking the right bottle or matching it with the right food and, ultimately, kowtow to professional advice. With China considered the biggest potential frontier of wine consumer insecurity, this study could be a threat since it suggests pairing is fruitless and, in turn, professional advice useless.

“This is a bigger challenge to the industry than fake wine or even White Zinfandel,” said China industry watcher A.P. Fu. “Now hundreds of authors might not get their books on pairing wine and dimsum published. Now dozens of experts might not get to visit China, host a dinner, decide what everyone eats and drinks, and charge an arm and a leg for it,” said Fu. “Their livelihoods and sense of superiority are at stake!”

But not everyone is worried. Speaking by phone from his den in what he called a “rather posh” part of London, noted author Hugh Blusterham called the study “Peking piffle”.

Blusterham — famous for answering “The latter” when asked “What’s more important: finding a cure for cancer or finding better food and wine pairings?” — said his maid recently cooked him a “somewhat spicy tofu what-have-you” last week and he spent a morning successfully pairing it with a dozen vintages of Chenin Blanc from Domaine Huet. “This is the type of simple exercise any consumer can do it home,” said Blusterham.

Reached by phone for comment, Professor Ha admitted she had never heard of the dish “somewhat spicy tofu what-have-you” but that, with proper sponsorship, the group was more than willing reconvene and try hundreds, even thousands, of more food and wine pairings, all in the name of science.

And as you probably already guess… this is an APRIL FOOL’S JOKE.

As good as pairings get in China?

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