Fake, fun, odd and old | The new China wine labels page

By Jim Boyce | Fake, fun, odd and old. I just launched a page focused on curious wine labels spotted in China. Most of the photos were taken by me, with the rest mostly from friends or wine groups. To kick off the launch, I posted one label per hour, for 24 hours, on my Twitter account. Check them out below. And check out the most than 100 labels, including some pithy comments, by my standards, at this link.


A sparkler is haunting China. This bubbly, inspired by the author of The Communist Manifesto, was spotted in Beijing. Class-y.

“We can call this ‘Penfold’s Grunge’ or ‘Benfold’s Grange’.” “The second one. Penfold’s is a protected name.”

A sweet, er, screw up. “Sweet fuck” might not exist on the “aroma wheel” but the translator didn’t shy from using it for this Alice White from Australia.

There is no “i’ in Lafute. Bordeaux for team players.

Beer or wine? Can’t decide? Changyu was doing boozy mashups nearly a century ago in Shandong.

What does Foreign Girl taste like? Strawberries, says one friend. Also of note, this wine “moistens the lung.”

Basketball and booze: two wildly popular hobbies are tapped by Australian brand Wolf Blass. Spotted at a Beijing supermarket.

A white wine from Romanee-Conti. Made in southern France. By Lafite. Something seems off. Ah, no accent aigu on the first “e” in “Romanee”! (Hat tip: Bruno Paumard)

Some wines are good. Some are very good. But only a few are very very good. (Hat tip: Helene Ponty)

“Has aged well. Prune and faint tobacco aromas, with a whiff of spent youth. The body is a touch flabby but still shows signs of complexity, with a wrinkle of dried fruit and a finish that strongly disapproves of today’s generation.”

“Let’s commemorate tea time with 240 bottles of wine featuring our mugs!” Vanity label from Changyu.

When it comes to fake wine in China, it ain’t only foreign brands that get burned. This Great Vale is but one example.

Did they finally update the 1855 classification system?

This Red Camel by Hansen in Inner Mongolia entered the market at nearly USD600. Why? Because that price was guaranteed to get it media attention

Named for Li Hua, who graduated from University of Bordeaux in the mid-eighties and returned to China to become something of a wine legend.

E-mail Dry Red Wine from Great Wall. From an era that might so easily have produced LOL, Hacker and Pwn wine. Hate it? Click delete. Love it. Forward to friends. Pair with spam.

Leigh Causby! Not much is known about him but he continues to be an oft-used face for China’s biggest wine company, Changyu.

“What should we put on this label instead of Romanee?” “I don’t know.” “C’mon, what sounds sexy?” “Guangdong?”

A Grape Wall April Fool’s Day joke some took seriously. Chateau Lafight blended two legends—French wine and Chinese martial arts—for a wine described as a ‘durian fist in a stinky tofu glove’.

What’s that? A Chinese Riesling from 1931. More proof that assumptions about this country and a destiny with red wine need rethinking.

Nothing quite says colony handover like a commemorative bottle of wine, especially by a brand called Dynasty.

“Life is free” in Shunyi? Certainly not the one in Beijing. Seen at a Fuzhou wine fair.

“Hey, when you said you were taking me to the Loire Valley for our honeymoon…”

School’s over, kids. Let’s get drunk. The new China wine label page is right here.

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