'New standard': Hong Kong's newest wine contest, plus a story of failure and success in China, the best wine lists, Riesling, fakes, and lots more. Please forward this newsletter! Anyone can sign up here.
Grape Wall of China
Ni hao Grape Wall readers,

The temperature is pushing 35 here these days so this issue is truly "hot off the presses."

The posts below cover everything from a story of failure and success in China's wine scene to the newest kid on the Hong Kong contest block, from reflections on 20 years in the business to a rant I call The Judgment of Beijing on the Judgment of Paris.
Althogh Grape Wall is a labo(u)r of love, it does require time and money. It's always appreciated if you pass this newsletter to others interested in China's wine scene. And if you want to support Grape Wall further, here for four ways to do so.

Cheers, Jim Boyce

'New Standard' | Big words from Hong Kong's newest wine contest

"Influential." "Important." "A new standard."

Those are some of the words used by organizers of the newest Hong Kong wine contest. The city already has the veteran Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (HKIWSC), the surprisingly resilient and influential China Wine & Spirits Awards and the spin-off Decanter Asia Wine Awards, so one wonders if this newcomer, the Wine Luxe International Awards and China Wine Challenge, will actually live up to its claims and leave everyone in the terroir, er, dust. More here.

To market | East Meets West picks up Tiansai

China-based importer and distributor East Meet West added four wines from the Tiansai brand, produced by Xinjiang winery Wangzhong, to a portfolio that includes local labels Chateau Nine Peaks from Shandong and Legacy Peak from Ningxia. GM Chen Lizhong has overseen development of the winery from scratch, assisted by consultant Li Demei and winemaker Lilian Carter. More here.

Riesling Plus | Constantin Press of The Wine Contor

He grew up in the Mosel region, but only gained an appreciation for Riesling after he left, and now handles German, Italian and Chilean wine brands in China. A talk with Constantin Press on everything from representing "high-end" wines to his take on Chinese consumers. More here.

Winederbar! | German Riesling ‘best in show’ at Wine 100

Results of the fifth annual Wine 100 contest are out and a German Riesling took top spot from nearly 800 entries. There were also 57 gold, 110 silver and 240 bronze medals by 30 judges from China and abroad. More details, including a list of trophy winners, here.

At least! | 99 bottles of wine on the wall...
Digging in cupboards and closets while thoroughly cleaning my apartment meant coming across bottles long forgotten. How many of these Chinese wines do you know? See dozens of labels, plus explanations, here.

Trial by fire | From wine ‘failure’ to success

I've written about CHEERS and how it influences the way wine is sold in China. Now CEO Claudia Maseuger has written about her experiences, starting with a trial by fire--her warehouse burned in 2011--and covering how the trade mocked the company, strategies it uses to attract consumers, and more. Details here.

Take the Falls | Chinese investors in Niagara

When I went on my first tour of Niagara three years ago, lots of people told me of Chinese investors willing to buy up entire vintages. Now, according to a media report, they are buying up the wineries themselves. More here.

Mama aiyo! | Jack Ma, fakes and Italian wine 

I was writing a pair of posts on the sad state of Italian wine in China and planned to finish with positive words, including by Jack Ma of Alibaba about using his online retail sites to boost sales. But his comments on fake products, namely that they are of better quality and price, jumped the queue. And justified a quick take on some fake wine issues in China. More here.

Pudao turns seven | Marcus Ford reflects on two decades

Marcus Ford spent a decade at Shanghai's M on the Bund before moving into retail with Pudao Wines in 2009. He recently reflected on nearly 20 years in the business, from memories of a Krug rep who delivered by bicycle, to China being used as a dumping ground for poor wine, to the rapid rise of vendors. More here.

2016 Decanter Awards | 38 wineries from China recognized

The 2016 results are out and 51 wines from 38 wineries in China, led by those from Ningxia, won some kind of recognition this year. More here.

Collated vs Quirky | Best Wine Lists in China 

‘Best’ is a tricky word. I recently waded through over 1000 pages of menus for the China Wine List of the Year Awards. There are lots of factors to consider, from menu design to portfolio breadth to food fits, and a lot of themes, from massive highly collated portfolios to smaller quirkier ones. More here.

Pútáojiŭ party | Mali Wine Cellar turns five

Despite having more than 20 million people, Beijing has relatively few good wine shops, with Mali Wine Cellar among the exceptions. More here.

Ah, no | Judgment of Beijing on Judgment of Paris
A beautiful day in Beijing provided a perfect setting for glass of Napa and a glass of Bordeaux and marking 40 years since the Judgment of Paris. Alack and alas, the trade showed little interest. A short rant here.

Note: The content of this newsletter is general information. I make no guarantee as to its completeness or accuracy. Use it at your own risk. In other words, I try hard to be accurate, but mistakes can happen, so reader beware! Also, I'm not a fan of spam and aim to send this newsletter only to people who signed up at Grape Wall blog or agreed by email or in person to receive it. If you did not request it, but are receiving it, something has gone awry. You can unsubscribe at the bottom or let me know at grapewallofchina (at) Cheers, Jim Boyce
10 July 2016
Grape Wall covers China's wine scene. Winery visits, tastings, news, reviews, and interviews. Since 2007. Administered by Jim Boyce. Get the newsletter here.
E-mail me here.
Q&A. Check Grape Wall's sessions with wine people inside and outside China.
Back issues. Check out the most recent ones.

Issue 28
A four-year study of wine tastes, the rise of Yunnan, anatomy of a vintage in Shanxi

Issue 27
Grape Wall Challenge results, CruItaly's Rory Quirk, CHEERS wine

Issue 26
Mas La Plana, Signature Wine Club, charity events

Issue 25
Rise of white wine, Ningxia analysis. Changyu-Moser sales in Europe

Issue 24
NWC launches, MWs as new Lafite, grower's Champagne, natural wine

Issue 23
WSETto hold first baijiu class, NWC set to launch

Issue 22
Grace beyond Cabernet, DFC in the PRC, Patricio de la Fuente-Saez
Events. When we put down our wine and organize stuff.
Grape Wall Challenge
Chinese consumers are judges in this annual blind tasting.
China Wine Tour
The tour covered four bars, a Chinese red and white wine at each. Details here.
North by Northwest
Wine experts, chefs and journalists try Chinese wine. See here for the results.

Ningxia vs Bordeaux
Five wines from each region were blind-tasted by ten experts. The results were a bit controversial. Details here
I started World Baijiu Day in 2015 to introduce people to this nation's top drink, a grain-based spirit with over 10 billion bottles sold per year. The event is back with dozens of events planned in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney and other cities. Details here.
A Final Word

Grape Wall has covered the China wine scene since 2007 and requires time and money for everything from organizing events to writing posts to covering hosting services. Here are three ways to support it.

Tell those interested in China's wine scene about the newsletter and website.

Send local wine news and tips to grapewallofchina (at)

Donate via PayPal or credit card here or Wechat to help cover site costs.

The more support, the more work can be done. Thanks to those who have already helped Grape Wall.

Cheers, Jim Boyce
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