Move over, Europe, Asia is the place to be if you want wine-related attention.
News outlets around the world are watching China as it continues to make headlines. China’s wine movement is about far more than drinking, although wine is becoming increasingly popular. China is new to the wine game but the past twenty years have seen exponential growth both in the production and drinking of wine. With foreign interest, marketing to the young, and increased interest in less pricey wines, China is a formidable opponent on the wine scene.
Bring Out The Bubbly
Red is symbolic in Chinese culture, signifying good fortune, luck, joy and happiness. Not surprisingly, red wines are very popular among the Chinese. However, because of the types of wines enjoyed by the Chinese, and recent austerity measures, there has been a drop in purchases. Younger drinkers, in an effort to prevent the purchasing of high-end spirits, are being led to sparkling whites, which are primarily cheaper and considered hip and fun.
Young drinkers are greatly enjoying Proseccos and other sparkling wines. So much, that Moet Hennessy has brought production of sparkling wine to China. In an interesting move, the government has given the company full ownership over its product. Foreign producers have always been required to partner with locals.
Surrounding the facility is a vineyard of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The recipe is not traditional French sparkling as the Chinese drinkers have a different palate and prefer less of the acidity found in traditional sparkling wines. Moet produced 70,000 bottles of the 2012 vintage and hopes to produce 250,000 bottles of the 2013.
Lights, Camera, Action!
It’s not just mainstream media that is looking at China’s wine news. A winemaker and documentary filmmaker from Australia has produced a lauded documentary on the relationship between France and China in relation to wine. A 2013 hit on the festival circuit the trailer for Red Obsession is enough to suck in anyone, whether or not they have an affinity for wine.
The film explores several aspects of China’s culture and history including comparisons to nearby Japan. Japan experienced its own wine boom in the 1990’s but was nothing compared to China’s. Having been separated from the rest of the world for many years, Chinese citizens are progressing at a fast pace when it comes to developing themselves into people who are viewed as worldly. They, like many others, are seduced by the romance of wine. Just like during Japan’s boom, there is a belief that being a wine expert makes a person more international.