Putaojiu Penguin | Wang Shenghan is a China Wine Ambassador

Wang Shenghan aka Lady Penguin, one of the country’s top alcoholic drinks influencers—with millions of social media followers and a recent book on wine—is now a China Wine Promotion Ambassador. The title was bestowed by CADA, the China Alcoholic Drinks Association, who are involved in everything from industry research to trade fair participation to taking the lead for last year’s complaint about Australian wines that led to huge tariffs against said vino. According to a document posted by Wang, the post will last for one year and help support the spirit of China leader Xi Jinping‘s positive comments about Chinese wine.

CADA and the industry as a whole are no doubt eager to see more sales, especially as the major quality leaps by local brands during the past decade—which includes over a thousand contest medals plus accolades / high scores from top critics—have not translated to financial success. In fact, production has actually dropped compared to a half-dozen years ago, even as sectors like craft beer and spirits have steadily grown, as has wine education, which we were told ad nauseum was crucial for success. And despite many attempts by people within the trade to break out to consumers at large, including extreme makeovers and efforts to be hip.

That translates to a lot of stress for results, whether those come via taking advantage of the gap left by Australian wine, leveraging nationalism, or turning to a highly successful drinks KOL. Interestingly, Wang has regularly veered to non-wine products, or at least non-traditional wine products because, well, I suppose they sell better. Although she has also found success with wine, telling me she sold more than a million bottles of her own Chilean brand, and has a knack for talking to consumers — see ‘Wine can be McDonald’s, wine can be Michelin’.

Having said that, Wang is no stranger to Chinese wine. She does cover the trade in her book and also recently featured Ningxia brands Helan Hong and Kanaan on her channel. (That’s at least the second time Kanaan made an appearance.) Now her task is to help the Chinese wine industry as a whole.

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