Sparkling wine in China | 7th annual Grape Wall Challenge to focus on budget bubbly

trb bites venue sponsor for grape wall challenge vii (2)

Chinese consumers will become wine judges when the corks pop for the seventh annual Grape Wall Challenge in less than a week.

Every year, we ask ‘regular’ consumers — think of someone who enjoys a glass or two per month but hasn’t taken a class and isn’t ‘passionate’ about wine — to blind-taste wines and rank each one as ‘love it’, ‘like it’, ‘dislike it’ or ‘hate it’. We then unveil the bottles and discuss these likes and dislikes with Professor Ma Huiqin, one of China’s top marketing experts. Then, once the ratings are totaled, we announce the wines the consumers liked best.

In terms of wines, we focus on those retailing for rmb100 or less, a category that gets precious little attention despite being a major portion of the market. This year’s challenge will be dedicated to sparkling wines. All wines entered must cost rmb100 at most and be available in at least a half-dozen cities or easily accessible via online shopping. Major distributors like ASC, CHEERS, China Wines & Spirits, East Meets West, French Wine Paradox, Summergate and Torres have agreed to participate, with more to come.

In short, the Grape Wall Challenge asks Chinese consumers to judge inexpensive wines they can easily find and buy.

Our venue sponsor this year is the restaurant TRB Bites, which is a new favorite among foodies and offers superb views of The Forbidden City. Proprietor Ignace Lecleir has been a strong supporter of the Grape Wall Challenge and this will be his fourth time hosting in seven years, including the 2014 version at Temple Restaurant Beijing. (He is also a strong supporter of Chinese wines, as Temple not only has the biggest selection but also offers some of them via it’s online site trb-wine.com.)

I’ll have more details on the Grape Wall Challenge in the next few days and will announce the top sparkling wine picks from the judges next week — just in time to stock up on bubbly for New Year’s!

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1 Comment

  1. Great initiative! I cant wait to see the results for this ‘crowd sourced’ wine judging event. Would love to see similar events take place ( same brands) in other emerging wine consumption areas in China ie 2nd and 3rd tier cities.

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