Greetings from China,
Where US wine faces a 93% entrance fee, Lafite
finally named its Shandong project, and Domaine Franco-Chinois
looks closer to an official launch after two decades of prep.
The 15% China tariff on June 1 hiked total tariffs / taxes on US wines to 93% and doubled as a breaking point for producers and importers that had been sacrificing profit to keep price steady. For the fallout, see my Wine Searcher piece
, quoting Michael Parr
(Wente), Alex Chen
(Alexander Wine), Tom Hinde
(Yao Family Wine) and Simon Su
I also posted an extended Q&A
with Simon Su
, who outlined the impact of each of those three tariffs, and how he deals with it for different customers—hotels / restaurants, private clients and sub-distributors. It's insightful stuff, though Su is skeptical about a deal being made and says "if they don't care, then we don't care."
Ten years after Lafite
got its Shandong project started, it announced the wine will go on sale on September. I wrote this piece
for Wine Searcher
comparing Lafite's rolein the China market of 2009, when the project began, to now. Back then?
"China arguably reached peak Lafite a decade ago. Lafite dominated an era when officials of state-owned enterprises guzzled this label by the case, when consumers had far less wine knowledge and were far more status conscious, and when property developers, restaurants and banks leveraged the name 'La Fei' to boost their own brands. Production on the documentary Red Obsession, about China’s fascination with Bordeaux and especially Lafite, was in the queue."
And now? Check this post
.for details, including the challenges of making wine in Shandong and some early reviews of the wine..
Lafite also announced the name of the winery. It's Long Dai
. Yes, it sounds like Long Die, and reminded some of how products by big China producer Dynasty
are sometimes called Die Nasty. Not good. But I do have a solution, one that involves The Eight Immortals and a Bruce Willis movie. See here
, a 17-year ASC Fine Wines
veteran, is now president of Domaine Franco-Chinois
, which began as a scientific project in 1999 before privatizing in 2010, and at Canaan
, started in 2006. Both are just outside Beijing and have already received kudos for their wines. Now, will those wines finally go on sale? And, given Li's presence, will it involve ASC, which has Grace Vineyard in the portfolio? More here
Amid the hand-wringing by some about Bordeaux's market share in China, Canon-Fronsac winery Ponty
recently went rogue rouge and introduced a Clairet
. And I joined a "wine and tech" event in Beijing, to promote Marselan
, what some call China's grape. More here
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