Where Chardonnay is being picked, one of Beijing's top wine spots just closed, and hordes of trade people are about to descend on Ningxia and will hopefully get off the beaten path to tell us something new.
Many people are back from holidays so I've included the most recent Grape Wall posts followed by what I think are some of the summer's best.
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Ten Ningxia Wineries
I did a three-day tour of Ningxia in May, with stops at Pushang, known for its Marselan, and Aromes, for it focus on natural wine, before joining writers from England, Germany and Switzerland for eight stops organized by Changyu-Moser XV. A whirlwind tour of wine, food, music and more. Check out my report, with five photos for each winery, here!
U.S. Reality Check
Quite a "sky is falling" media report this week
about China's tariff on U.S. wine. Thing is the market for imported bottled wine doubled in China over the past seven years yet the U.S. shipped less here in 2017 than 2011. If a months-old 15 percent tariff is a crisis, what was the past decade? See my take here
on the tariff and how rising nationalism is arguably a bigger threat than rising prices to U.S. wine. And my take here
on U.S. sales struggles in China this past decade, part of a larger Vines and Wines
piece I wrote.
So Long Press Release
One joy in my wine life has been taking visiting trade people to Beijing bar Press Release
for peanut butter-infused Bourbon served on crushed ice, topped with Sangiovese and garnished with a bunch of mint. Sound gross? Maybe, but it tastes good, and it was fun to see expressions go from doubtful to delighted when trying it. Unfortunately, Press Release closed this week and that means one less wine-centric place in a city already thin with them.. Details here
Want to taste a Chardonnay made just after England squeezed Hong Kong from China via the First Opium War? Or a Château Lafite-Rothschild made during the 1860s when European missionaries were fermenting religion in Yunnan and planting vines they brought from home? Check out this Hong Kong dinner in October that features 14 European wines from the 19th century. Details here
And here are stories from earlier in the summer:
In a pig's ear
. What happens when four experts vehemently disagree over whether a wine is a perfect pairing for spicy pig's ear or perfectly faulty? A tale from a Beijing contest.
The full Ponty
: After doing law and business degrees, Helene Ponty moved to China in 2012 to sell her family's Bordeaux wine and has since visited 60 cities, done thousands of ganbeis and learned lots of lessons.
Rawson's Retreat advances
: With media reports of a glut of lower-level Aussie labels in the market, I check my local supermarket and also ask Wine Australia's David Lucas
about the possibility of a "Yellowtail effect" in China.
60 months, 60 photos
: The stunning Changyu-Moser XV winery in Ningxia turned five years old so I sorted through hundreds of photos from my visits and picked the best.
Also see posts about Penfolds
plans for a wine and baijiu product
, Grace Vineyard going public
, Simone Incontro
's new directions
for Italian wine in China, and the recent partnership
and giant baijiu producer Luzhao Laojiao
, plus my new page with fake, fun, odd and old wine labels
seen in China.
Finally, a familiar question is popping up again: "Why isn't China a top-five wine producer when it is second only to Spain for vineyard coverage?" The answer is here