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CHINA DAILY: CASUAL DRINKERS CHEER DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL WINES 中国日报:消费者为当地葡萄酒的发展举杯同庆

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water!”

“美酒如水之精华,杯中阳光!”

Galileo Gallilei.


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Photos by Zhang Zefeng / 图片来自中国日报社记者 – 张泽峰

POP-UP BEIJING was honoured to host the Eighth Grape Wall Challenge, with founder Jim Boyce at the helm, and wine expert Ma Huiqin guiding a gathering of everyday Chinese wine consumers in a tasting of new Chinese wines! Read on below, for an article featured in China Daily about the event itself, and where Chinese consumers think Chinese wine stands today…

POP-UP BEIJING非常荣幸能够协办第八届“葡萄围城”美酒鉴赏会,和创始人Jim Boyce以及葡萄酒专家马慧琴教授一起,我们和当地消费者一起品尝了一系列中国本地出产的葡萄酒!来看看来自中国日报对此次活动的报道,以及消费者们对品鉴的反馈吧……


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CASUAL DRINKERS CHEER DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL WINES

Published on 2017-02-07 07:26:19 By Zhang Zefeng form China Daily

Photos by Zhang Zefeng

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Jim Boyce (left) and Ma Huiqin (right) with a group of judges at the recent wine-tasting event in Beijing. Zhang Zefeng / China Daily

Four clusters of wines sit on a long vintage metal table in a spacious Beijing art gallery, where a mix of Chinese and Western antiques are displayed. Accompanied by popular music from the 1950s, a group of judges take turns sampling the bottles. They pour some of each wine into a glass, take a sip, taste and swirl, spit it out, then write down their impressions.

But this isn’t a scene from a professional wine competition. It’s the Grape Wall Challenge, one of the few Chinese wine-tasting events that puts the spotlight on Chinese wine consumers instead of oenological experts. This year, the eighth annual event took place at POP-UP BEIJING around the Chinese New Year.

First held in 2009, the event traditionally focuses on popular wines from around the world priced at less than 100 yuan ($15) that are usually neglected by experts and the media. But this year, event founder Jim Boyce from Canada decided to introduce 16 small-scale, high-quality Chinese wines.

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“When I started doing this tasting contest years ago, I couldn’t find 16 Chinese wines like this,” says the Beijing-based wine blogger. “Today, I have about 50 choices to get down to 16, so we can see the quality going up very fast.”

This year’s selections are available nationally, and had won prizes or got good reviews overseas. They largely came from small to medium-scale wineries including Shandong’s Chateau Nine Peaks, Shanxi’s Grace Vineyard, Xinjiang’s Tiansai and Ningixa’s Hansen, Kanaan, Legacy Peak and Silver Heights.

The price of the white and red wines range from around 150 yuan to 330 yuan. In the course of four flights, the judges-most of them casual wine drinkers-are asked to score each wine as “love it”, “like it”, “dislike it” or “hate it”.

According to the International Wine and Spirits Research, China has emerged as the fifth largest consumer market and No 10 wine producer globally. However, the general consumers’ knowledge of wine remains weak.

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“There is a huge gap between experts and consumers in terms of wine knowledge,” says professor Ma Huiqin of China Agricultural University who has been in the wine industry for more than 20 years.

Ma, who leads the discussion, points out that some Chinese wine experts like taking notes in English and using perplexing tasting terms.

“Experts can easily distinguish black truffle from white truffle,” she says. “But few Chinese consumers will know the flavor of truffle, let alone telling the difference.”

The Grape Wall Challenge is just one event designed to bridge the gap. After the first flight, the consumers go from nervous to confident. They talk openly about which wines they like and dislike, and even debate the aesthetics of some bottles.

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“The wine industry makes wine too complicated, but we want to make it simple, and we want regular people’s opinions,” says Boyce. “You don’t need an expert to tell you which Peking duck is the best. We think it’s the same with the wine.”

According to Ma, a good bottle of wine usually requires quality grapes, which produce rich fruitiness, and good technology with proper oxidization. But when it comes to one’s favorite wine, opinions diverge widely.

One of the judges, Cui Yunan, a branding chief of food startup Yikouliangshi, enjoys wines from Ningxia’s Kanaan the most. “Its wines are pretty sophisticated,” says Cui. “But what really impresses me is my feeling, ‘I want more’, after each sip.”

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Ma’s favorite is Silver Heights’ Family Reserve cabernet sauvignon-merlot. “It’s more than a good wine; It’s a wine with character,” she says. “(The winemakers) not only consider the drinking experience of the consumers, but also give some thought to the food and wine match.”

Ma also notes that the tasting doesn’t usually reveal a complete picture of a wine as such mass tasting often puts the wine at the center of attention without consideration of the food and company.

She says she’s impressed by the casual wine drinkers’ choices of wine and believes that consumers’ opinions should be fully valued.


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消费者为当地葡萄酒的发展举杯同庆

文章由中国日报社记者张泽峰发布于 2017-02-07 07:26:19

图片来自中国日报社记者 – 张泽峰

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Jim Boyce(左)和马慧琴(右)以及品鉴者们一起在活动现场。张泽峰/中国日报社

宽敞明亮的画廊里陈设着来自东方和西方的古董家居,空间一隅的老式铁艺长桌上满满地排列着四组葡萄酒。宽敞明亮的画廊回响着五十年代经典的蓝调爵士,一群“品鉴师们”轮流品尝着桌上的葡萄酒 – 斟酒、小酌、浅尝 – 让酒液与舌尖共舞片刻、吐酒,然后写下自己的评论。

品鉴会看似十分严谨专业,但这其实是“葡萄围城”美酒鉴赏会的现场。多年以来,摒弃国内葡萄酒行业长期以来给人塑造的高冷形象,“葡萄围城”致力于把酒文化指向它最原本的初衷 – 当地消费者。本年度的第八届品鉴会于新春佳节来临之际在三里屯机电院里的POP-UP BEIJING举办。

第一届品鉴会始于2009年。那时候品鉴会选酒的标准是来自世界各地、均价在100元人民币(15美元)以下的葡萄酒,因为价格偏低,这些葡萄酒往往会被主流媒体和酒评家们所忽略。今年的主题与往年相比大不相同,活动的主办者,来自加拿大的Jim Boyce先生特别选择了16款来自小酒庄、精造细酿的中国葡萄酒。

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“几年前在我刚刚开始举办品鉴会的时候,想要找到16款品质优良的中国葡萄酒简直是天方夜谭,” Jim告诉我们。“然而,今天这品尝的这些是我在50款优秀的中国葡萄酒里面甄选出来的 – 由此就可以看出,中国的葡萄酒在短短的几年内经历了质的飞跃。”

本届参选的葡萄酒在国际范围内都有着良好的声誉 – 或是荣誉在身,或是美誉有佳。大部分酒品都来自中小型的精品酒庄,这其中就包含了山东的九顶庄园、山西的怡园酒庄、新疆的天塞酒庄、宁夏的汉森酒庄、迦南美地、留世酒庄和银色高地。

价格上来说,这次参选的葡萄酒从150元到330元人民币不等。这些葡萄酒按照价格与种类被分为四个比较组,品鉴者们大多都是非专业人士,品评的标准也十分的通俗易懂 – 共有四个选项供大家选择:“十分喜爱”、“比较喜欢”、“不太喜欢” 以及 “十分讨厌”。

根据国际葡萄酒与烈酒研究所的报告显示,中国目前已经是世界上排名第十五的葡萄酒消费大国,和排名第十的葡萄酒生产国。然而,从消费者的角度来说,对于葡萄酒,他们的了解还是知之甚少。

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“就专业知识来讲,普通消费者和葡萄酒专家相比差别其实是很大的,” 来自中国农业大学的马慧琴教授告诉我们,她本人在葡萄酒行业中有着20余年的专业经验。

马教授还指出,很多中国的葡萄酒专家偏爱用英文以及专业晦涩的词汇来记述品鉴笔记。

“专家们很容易就能够区分黑松露和白松露之间的细微差别,”她继续说。“但别说黑白了,许多中国消费者连松露是什么味道都不清楚,哪还能讲出分别呢?”

“葡萄围城”美酒鉴赏会其实正是这样一个为专业鉴酒师和普通消费者之间搭建桥梁的活动。第一轮品鉴结束之后,大家明显都从紧张的状态中放松了下来。每个人的脸上都洋溢着热情的笑容,对杯中的美酒发表着自己的观点 – 其中一些酒款还受到了人们在酒标设计和美学上的评论。

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“其实,葡萄酒被许多业界专家们过分地复杂化了,我们在这里想要向大家展示的是葡萄酒平易近人的那一面,我们希望得到普通消费者最简单、真实的观点。”Jim告诉我们。“举个例子,北京城内那么多的烤鸭店,哪家好吃大家都有自己的观点。我们相信,葡萄酒也是一样的。”

马教授告诉我们,一瓶好葡萄酒往往酿造于高品质的葡萄果实,优质的原料能给葡萄酒带来丰富的果香,酿酒师的技艺和陈储在这其中也发挥着十分重要的作用。理论归理论,实际上,就个人感受和品位来说,不同个体的差异还是很大的。

这次鉴赏会的品鉴者之一 – 崔宇楠女士是一位厨师,拥有着自己的餐饮品牌“一口粮食”,她个人最欣赏的酒款来自中国宁夏的迦南美地。“这个酒庄的葡萄酒给人一种十分精致的感受,”崔女士告诉我们。“但更重要的是,它让我停不下来 – 都说美酒醉人,说的就是这种一口接一口、一杯接一杯的感觉吧。”

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马教授最钟爱的酒款是来自银色高地的家族珍藏赤霞珠-梅洛葡萄酒。“这不仅仅是一款好的葡萄酒,更拥有着令人钦佩的个性,”她说。“银色高地的酿酒师不仅仅考虑到了顾客的饮用体验,更深刻地,她考虑到了在美酒和美食之间搭建桥梁。”

马教授还说,很多品鉴会都没有把葡萄酒放在大环境下去考量,最简单的例子便是酒食之间的搭配。很多大型的鉴赏会都只以葡萄酒为主,忽略了它在人们生活中最原本的功能和作用。

最后,马教授表达了她个人对这次品鉴会的敬意和感动:“消费者的观点应该被业界充分地考虑以及尊重。”


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Check out ‘China Daily’ website (www.chinadaily.com.cn) for more informations about news in China.

欢迎通过‘中国日报’官方网站(www.chinadaily.com.cn)来获取新闻消息

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Check out ‘The Grape Wall of China’ website (www.grapewallofchina.com) for more informations about wine in China.

欢迎通过‘葡萄围城’博客网站(www.grapewallofchina.com)来获取关于中国葡萄酒的更多信息。

The Grape Wall Challenge took place on Monday 23 January 2017, at POP-UP BEIJING.

“葡萄围城”美酒鉴赏会于2017年一月23日星期一在POP-UP BEIJING举办。


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