Wine & dine: Grace Vineyard has new restaurant distributor

Veteran China wine operation Grace Vineyard is teaming up with a new partner for restaurant sales.

Hong Kong businessman C.K. Chan launched Grace Vineyard in Shanxi in 1997, with daughter Judy Chan taking over in 2002 and expanding the operation to include vineyards and a winery in Ningxia, a distillery in Fujian, a listing on Hong Kong’s stock exchange and an ever-diversifying range of grape varieties, wine styles and price points.

The new distribution partner, which is finalizing staffing and other details, is headed by Cary Zhen. Zhen brings ample experience to the venture as she was most recently head of on-trade sales for Summergate after spending nearly six years at COFCO. She also brings wine and spirits experience from time spent at Watson’s, ASC, Bacardi and Jebsen.

From its first vintages, made by French winemaker Gerard Colin, Grace built a reputation for combining quality and value, and found a place in China’s hotels and restaurants at a time when such local wines were rare. Grace partnered with Torres in 2004, with then-managing partner Alberto Fernandez being a major advocate, then moved to ASC in late 2016 where it plugged a gap in the portfolio by being that distributors’ only Chinese winery partner at the time.

Given growing interest in quality local wines by bars, restaurants and hotels, having dedicated staff to promote Grace should mean we see more of its Deep Blue, its Aglianico, its Angelina Brut Reserve, its Marselan and more showing up on restaurant menus soon.

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