Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate to launch Chinese-language site in June

By Jim Boyce | It looks like the world’s most famous wine critic will finally connect to the world’s biggest consumer market–in its own language. The Wine Advocate, started by Robert Parker, is slated to launch a Chinese-language version of its website in June, according to this report in Drinks Business, although the details are sparse and I have been unable to find a press release on the company’s website.

Parker is a rare visitor to continental China–he’s done two tours, including one in 2008, when he headlined this dinner on the Great Wall–but his scores and tasting notes are regularly used by wine sellers to market their products. Given this, the lack of a Chinese-language site has always seemed puzzling, especially as other top critics such as Jancis Robinson see more of their work translated.

Now, a bit more than three years after Parker sold a major share of The Wine Advocate to investors in Singapore, local wine aficionados will soon have more greater not only to his insights but also to those of other Wine Advocate reviewers, including Singapore-based editor-in-chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown, and Liwen Hao, whose responsibilities will include the China market.

The Wine Advocate is the latest in a line of well-known foreign publications to connect with consumers here in Chinese.

French magazine La Revue du Vin de France launched a Beijing-based print edition, with simplified characters, in 2011, drawing on a blend of translated material from the French version and locally sourced content.

UK magazine Decanter also launched a print edition, in 2005, though this one featured traditional characters and targeted readers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. When it moved into continental China in 2012, Decanter limited its presence to a Chinese website.

And US magazine Wine Enthusiast worked with massive retailer yesmywine when it launched a Chinese edition in 2012, although that initiative only lasted for about two years.

Of course, there are also publications that originated in China, including veterans Fine Wine & Liquor in Shenzhen and Wine in China in Beijing, Wine in Guangzhou, and relative newcomer Le Pan, in Hong Kong, which publishes both English and simplified Chinese editions.

There is little doubt the thirst for wine information in China is growing, although it is less obvious how to profit from that, and it will be interesting to see how Wine Advocate fits among these and other publications.

Check out the new online China Wine Directory. And sign up for the free Grape Wall e-newsletter here:

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