New blend | Bettane, Desseauve & COFCO create strategic agreement

French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve have a new strategic partnership with COFCO, the company best-known in the wine world for national brand Greatwall and that has regional operations such as SunGod in Hebei and Tianfu (previously Yunmo) in Ningxia.

The agreement was signed in Beijing on June 11 by Bettane and Desseauve (B+D) wine rep Guillaume Zhuang and Li Changzheng, vice president of marketing and brands for Wine & Wine International, the COFCO branch that handles imports from key producing nations like France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Australia and South Africa, including the Bordeaux winery Chateau de Viaud the company purchased a decade ago.

“This agreement includes our support for branding wines distributed by COFCO in China,” says Zhuang. “We will also co-organize consumer events, such as tastings and master classes, and help with sourcing quality wine.”

B+D has held annual “grand tastings” in cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. And the team in China, led by Zhuang, has also held a steady series of events. (I have attended several and they are very well organized.)

“We have done more than 20 symposiums at Taorantian Gallery in Beijing,” says Zhuang. The events included several focused on local wine. (See Michel Bettane in Beijing: ‘This is really bad oak. Bad bad oak’ and The Quotable Bettane: Blends and civilization, MWs as bad tasters & under-wined oak.)

This agreement isn’t COFCO’s first with a high-profile wine personality. Others have included with James Suckling, who COFCO previously cooperated on his Great Wines of the World tour and on Chinese-language versions of his content and tasting notes after making an agreement in 2017.

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