Friday, June 27, 2014
Riesling Weeks 2014 in China - A Celebration at the German Embassy in Beijing, China
It all started in the U.S in 2005. The world-wide Riesling Renaissance was gaining momentum and the German Wine Institute organized its first ever "Riesling Week" - a promotion of German Rieslings in restaurants and in the wine trade in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas. What started with a few dozen partners in these cities has since then developed into a campaign with a few hundred partners throughout the whole United States. Encouraged by this success, the German Wine Institute has implemented trade and gastro promotions in many other wine markets as well, including China.
In China, the 2014 Riesling Weeks took place from 1st to 16th June 2014. Targeted cities were Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Changsha and Guangzhou. As part of the 2014 Riesling Weeks in China, the German Ambassador to China had a reception at his residence on June 6, 2014, with the German Wine Princess Sabine Wagner the Guest of Honor. Other guests included German winemakers that were in Beijing for the TopWine China 2014 trade show as well as journalists, retailers, importers and sommeliers from the local wine scene. Ex-Minister Rudolph Scharping – now consulting for Chinese companies – was in town and also attended the reception.
Wine Giant China
In a rather short period of time, China has become the 5th largest wine market in the world (following the US, France, Italy and Germany and ahead of the UK, Argentina, Spain, Australia and Portugal). Annual wine consumption in China has reached 16.8 million hectoliters, compared with 29.2 million hectoliters in the US. China is in the top 10 group of wine consuming countries.
With less than a liter per year, the Chinese per capita consumption is dismal, but the number of consumers is huge. Thus, overall wine consumption is large. And, per capita consumption is on an upward trend. If the per capita consumption increases just by as much as – for example – the Australian per capita consumption increased between 2007 and 2001, China would become the largest wine market in the world, overtaking the US, France, Italy and Germany. China’s wine boom started less than 20 years ago. It is poised to become the largest wine consumer in the world in the not too distant future.
Around 80 % cent of the wine consumed in China is red. The color red is considered lucky in China and is also affiliated with the Communist government, while white is associated with death and is predominantly seen at funerals. About 70% to 80% of wine consumed in China is produced locally or a blend of Chinese and imported wine.
On the production side, China has emerged as the fifth biggest wine producer in the world, mainly for domestic consumption, although Chinese wine has started to appear on the shelves of other countries. Wine producer China, where traces of wild wine dating from the second and first millennium BC have been found, is clearly on the fast track. Most of the grapes used are indigenous to China but international grapes, notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are more and more planted in Chinese vineyards.
Jancis Robinson: China undoubtedly has a present and burgeoning future as a wine producer and consumer, but all Chinese wine regions assayed so far have one major disadvantage. They are either, like Shandong on the east coast, so wet in summer that it is a struggle to harvest fully ripe, healthy grapes, or they are so cold in winter, like Ningxia, where Moët Hennessy recently established a sparkling-wine operation, that the vines have to be laboriously buried every autumn to protect them from freezing to death. Quite apart from the damage it can do to vines, the continuing urbanisation of China suggests that eventually this may become rather expensive.
Nevertheless, both on the consumption side and the production side, it is only a matter of time, until China becomes the world largest wine country.
German Wine in China
China's import wine market is dominated by the French. Over 50 percent of imported wine comes from France. Labels like Chateau Lafite or Mouton have a cult status among the country's nouveau-riche. German wines are much less glamorous. The recent austerity and anti-corruption drive of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping has led to a marked decline in conspicuous consumption and sales of high-end wine.
Concerning German wine, generally, Chinese people do not think of wine when it comes to Germany's finer exports. They think of cars, machines and possibly beer. German winemakers and the German Wine Institute are in the process of changing this. German wine exports to China have increased dramatically in recent years, although from a low base. It is expected that China will soon become the largest wine market in Asia for German wine exports, ahead of Japan.
Here are the wines that were poured by Wine Princess Sabine Wagner.
1636 Mosel Riesling Sekt trocken
Producer: Einig-Zenzen, Mosel
Merlot just rose Black Label
Producer: Weingut Albert Glas, Pfalz
Cuvee WS trocken Rotwein
Producer: Weingut Wilhelm Sitzius, Nahe
Cuvee Fuchs Extra Rotwein
Producer: Weingut Fuchs, Rheinhessen
2010 Novis Rotweincuvee
Producer: Weingut Dr. Heger, Baden
Importer: Dalian Yutai Chongxin International Trading
Producer: Weingut Knipser
Dry Style White Wines
2011 Blankenhornsberger Muskateller trocken
Producer: Staatsweingut Freiburg, Baden
Importer: Quin International
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Producer: Weingut Georg Mosbacher, Pfalz
Importer: Connoisseur Club Shanghai
2008 Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling GG
Producer: Weingut Bassermann-Jordan, Pfalz
Importer: German Fine Wine Ltd., Shanghai
2012 Riesling Feinherb
Producer: Weingut Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium, Mosel
Importer: Euro Starbrands
Fruity-sweet White Wines
Importer: Shanghai Hengjin Logistics Co. Ltd.
Altum Riesling Spätlese
Producer: Weingut Heinrich Vollmer, Pfalz
2011 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese
Producer: Weingut St. Urbans-Hof, Mosel
Importer: Kerry Wines
Spätburgunder Weissherbst Spätlese
Producer: Weingut Philipp Lang, Baden
Serga König Johann Berg Riesling Auslese
Producer: König Johann Weingut, Mosel
Importer: Run Yang Drinks Co. Ltd
Dienheimer Schloss Riesling Auslese
Producer: Jakob Gerhardt Wein- und Sektkellerei, Rheinhessen
Importer: Jakob Gerhardt Wein- und Sektkellerei
For dinner (main course), 4 Chefs from the Beijing Kempinski Hotel prepared delicious stir-fries for us.
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