Raise a glass | Third World Marselan Day is next week

Will Marselan do for China what Malbec did for Argentina, Pinotage for South Africa and Shiraz for Australia? A growing number of people see Marselan as “China’s grape” and, at the very least, the research is tasty! Part of it involves World Marselan Day, an annual event I launched in 2018 to celebrate this grape created by Paul Truel in southern France in 1961. WMD is held on April 27, Truel’s birth date in 1924.

Marselan crosses Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, to leverage some attributes of each, including the structure of the former and the heat resistance and color of the latter. The grape was far from an instant hit given it had lower than hoped for yields at a time when quantity was in demand. But as the wine world shifted more to quality, Marselan began to find its place and now has been commercially produced in over two dozen countries.

That includes China, where it has spread across the nation — from the monsoonal coast in the east to the land-locked deserts in the west — since being introduced just outside Beijing two decades ago. Crucially, it has resulted in diverse and delicious wines.

On World Marselan Day, the goal is to drink wine made with this grape and have fun. That’s it! Want to participate? All you need is to drink some Marselan on April 27, take a photo and post it with #worldmarselanday on social media. I’ll also organize one or two small events in Beijing, with social distancing rules in effect, if you’re in this part of the world, and there are some other activities happening in China that I’ll post on soon.

This year has been tough for everyone, and the time left to prepare for World Marselan Day is short, but I will work on the site and events this week, and update on WeChat and Twitter, including where to get some Marselan in China. You can also reach me directly at grapewallofchina (at) gmail.com. Hope to see people sharing this special grape on April 27!

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