The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting article talking about China as a growing wine market. While the emphasis thus far has been on the nouveau riche importing wine as status symbols, the article states that many are now beginning to appreciate wine at home, and that the country is spending large amounts of money to help start and incubate a previously-nonexistent wine culture.
[Chinese winemaker Qingyun Ma] is one of the growing number of Chinese oenophiles who want the wine world to look beyond hyperreal European settings and start thinking of made-in-China Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir without laughing. That's not easy, since the country has no winemaking tradition of its own.
Wine making is one of mankind's oldest agricultural skills, and China has been making wine throughout its history. However, beer and spirits made from sorghum and plum dominate the market, with spirit consumption coming almost all from imports. In a recent showdown between Chinese and French wines, Chinese wines performed well, though the premise of the competition was inherently flawed since they had to cost the same (and imported French wine are subject to heavy tariffs). Chinese grapes will, once again, be put to the test, this time in a competition that calls on winemakers from around the world to come to China and make wine from this year's harvest.
[Continue reading at: San Francisco Chronicle]