China Grows Taste For Wine

China Grows Taste For Wine
Wine is becoming more popular in China. In Beijing, a class of Chinese citizens with money to burn are sipping top brands from around the world–and even locally grown wines.

A growing Chinese passion for high-end wines, and the lifestyle they represent, is fueling a booming domestic market with a focus on well-known brands.

In the outskirts of Beijing stands Beijing Lafitte Hotel, a replica of a French chateau. Here, wine enthusiasts sip a taste of several choice imports from France, Chile, Italy and Australia.

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“Lafite wine gives the impression of being a rare, expensive and elegant product. I think Lafitte Hotel is also very elegant and our service makes customers feel very familiar and respected.”

The hotel is a well-received venue for wine tasting. It offers wines ranging from to almost ,500.

There are several vineyards in China, some created with help from foreign specialists. But well-to-do Chinese wine lovers still prefer the real thing from France.

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“The learned people who are really into structure and flavor, the longevity of wines and that, they are looking at a range of wine styles. And they probably started off oddly with the red wines and the more they learn they go to the whites. Most other countries they start off with whites and go to red, so there is a point of difference in this country.”

The fact that wine is a less strong alcohol is helping to drive the Chinese wine market.

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“There is a Chinese saying that if there is no alcohol then there is no banquet. When I hang out with my friends, we drink different kinds of alcohol according to different occasions. For instance, if there is a birthday party I would bring champagne and in normal banquets I would bring red and white wine. If there are more women attending a banquet, then I would bring sweet wine.”

Last year, China became the biggest export market outside the European Union for Bordeaux wines in volume, ahead of the U.S., with retailers placing China as the world’s fifth biggest wine market.

This entry was posted in Wine.

6 comments

  1. Alan Horton says:

    @SpinachSalad01 Sake is nice actually. Wine is plagued by snobbery and conspicuous consumption. I wonder what happened to the indigenous Chinese forms of alcohol. I know they had some form of wine, they wrote about it, but now all the alcohol consumed in China seems to be foreign.

  2. ppshchik says:

    @yerk3 Many Chinese millionaires like to drink expensive western wine just to act classy but they generally have no knowledge about it.

  3. Alan Horton says:

    @ppshchik So they’re basically like a lot of bourgeois wine snobs worldwide. It’s a vicious cycle: some wines are expensive because of high demand, the demand is driven by snobbery, the snobbery is motivated by the high price, because after all, if it’s expensive, it has to be good, right? I love wine, but I choose it solely based on how good it tastes. I used to have a friend who could find tons of really delicious wines for under 10 bucks.

  4. ppshchik says:

    @yerk3 That’s true. I’m a Chinese in a wine tasting class and learned that wine that are drunk my local Europeans are very affordable yet good ones. There are many “nouveau riches” in newly developed countries like Russia and China who just want to show off how rich they are. Many of the most expensive wine’s prices have been driven up by the Chinese noveau RIches especially “Lafite” since it’s the easiest term for them to pronounce lol…those rich uneducated peasants…

  5. guiyong says:

    @yerk3
    Leaving in China, I can tell you that the most consumed alcohol in China is baijiu, followed by beer (local beer). Yes, many Chinese turn their interest to grape wine as a result of the “go for Western stuff” trend, but traditions remain. Moreover, a large part of grape wine sold in China is counterfeited. Chinese know that.

  6. Veilside1000HP says:

    I prefer good old beer:) Corona Extra (with lime) and Taiwan Beer (with dried sweet plum):)

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