After clothes, cell phones, and solar panels, could China take over the wine world as well? To find out, we take you along our China wine adventure, to meet the farmers, entrepreneurs, and teachers who are rocking the wine world. Along the way, we explore wine tourism hotspots from the high mountains of Yunnan to the Ningxia desert, we ditch the Terra Cotta Warriors for a 4D wine movie, and we desperately try to make others fall in love with our favorite Chinese wines.
Our book, Adventures on the China Wine Trail, is currently in production with our publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, and scheduled to come out in February 2020. In the meantime, check out the Amazon page, where you can even pre-order, if you’d like! And follow us on social media for stories, previews, and updates!
Wine made in… China? Until recently, for most people, at best, it didn’t exist. At worst, well, some ideas came to mind. It was only a few years ago that wine writers left a trail of memorable tasting notes: “ash tray, coffee grounds, and urinal crust,” or, our new favorite, “a smell of baked dead mouse!” So, imagine the world’s surprise when at 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards, a 2009 Chinese red blend from Ningxia province won Best Bordeaux Blend over Ten British Pounds. That couldn’t be real. Some skeptics went as far as to question the authenticity of the wine, or even the integrity of Decanter Magazine, accused to play a secret business agenda. There had to be a better explanation than the wine being delicious. Because otherwise, oh my, it could be the start of something all too familiar by now. First it was our socks and T-shirts, then, steel, and next thing we knew, Chinese cell phones, laptops, heck, even solar panels were everywhere. Could China take over the wine world as well?
What happened? How did we get from largely ignoring the idea of wine made in China, to gold medals and praise by famous critics, in less than a decade? In this book, we take you along our excellent adventures on the China wine trail, to meet the farmers, entrepreneurs, and teachers who are rocking the wine world. Maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing to be scared about after all. We will travel to Chinese wine tourism hotspots and show you how much fun they can be, sometimes in a weird sort of way. We will talk to winemakers who face no shortage of headaches in their quest to get their hands on good wine grapes. We will take you to green, lush mountains at such high elevation that your shampoo bottle might explode, and then to a desert, to see what French multinational corporations have in common with small Chinese farmers. Then, it will be time to go back to school, Chinese wine school, of course, to meet teachers, and their students eager to join the wine workforce. And in case you travel to China but really can’t make it to the wineries, we’ll reveal where we bought those local wines we love, and even a few places where you can enjoy them by the glass, with a good meal. Finally, we’ll tell you what happened when we subjected thirsty participants to blind tastings of Chinese wines. And what if, soon, you could buy some closer to home, even if you never make it to the Middle Kingdom?
Our choices of stories, wines and destinations were often shaped by what time and budget allowed, as well as serendipitous encounters. We don’t pretend to provide a comprehensive list. But we hope that our stories will get you curious about Chinese wines, help you understand the people behind them, and be a starting point for your own China wine adventures.