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Virtual Insanity

by First Draught

 

China Is Building a Disney World for Wine

www.bloomberg.com

Mark Ellwood:

The faux-historic halls of the castle are also home to an interactive exhibition that walks visitors through the history and making of wine. Mirrors encourage visitors to stick out their tongues to examine their taste buds; there’s a statue of Bacchus, plus a wall that showcases the various strata of soil, or terroir. Inexplicably, a giant, smiling face resembling a cartoon grape beams out from one corner. An oversized globe spotlights the world’s other wine regions, while a table covered in Perspex tubes and buttons asks users to see if they can match a region to a scent. There’s even a room dedicated to former Chinese leaders (none of whom seem to be enjoying a glass of wine).

Sounds... weird. Also reminds me a bit of... "Dino DNA!"

One conundrum that even the Italians can't crack, though, is the dominance of red wine. Redolent of such renowned regions as Burgundy and Bordeaux, red wine shares a color with both the Communist Party and good luck. Unfortunately for lovers of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, white is the color of mourning and is mostly worn at funerals, which stigmatizes blanc plonk long before it’s opened.

Crazy -- and yet not -- that the popularity is linked simply to color. Guessing that Crystal Clear Pepsi also didn't go over well in China.

Can Changyu’s deep-pocketed attempts under Reina’s tutelage really create a new winemaking hotspot? “It’s definitely one of the recognizable big brands, along with Great Wall and Dynasty. Thus, it has instant brand recognition for many Chinese consumers, ”explains Edward Ragg, of (Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting) in Beijing by email. He is cautious about the Italians’ impact on what goes into the bottle. Euromonitor International Ltd. analyst Spiros Malandrakis is more bullish, drawing parallels with the surging British sparkling wine industry, which has been buoyed by climate change and a few canny blind tastings in which it beat Champagne. “Considering the amount of money being in, and the people involved, we will soon be seeing not just award-winning sparkling wine from England, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see super-premium red wines from China, too,” he tells Bloomberg.

Weird to think that in 20 years, some of the best wines in the world could be from China. But also buried in here: China is now the second-largest wine grower in terms of vineyard area (behind only France) -- their vine landscape is roughly equivalent to the size of Puerto Rico. Wild. 🍷🇨🇳

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