An industry report has shown that Chinese wine output could outpace Australia by 2014, producing as many as 218 million cases of wine! Various media have picked up the story this week, and talk about things like how China’s got its own Dragon’s Eye grape, how the Chinese prefer red over white, and how the biggest domestic producers are Great Wall, Dynasty and Changyu. Dynasty?!? DEAR FOREIGN MEDIA: PLEASE TASTE CHINESE WINE BEFORE YOU WRITE ABOUT IT.
Cheap wine can be a wonderful thing. Inexpensive, burns the gullet, harbors a lower sense of shame than cheap gin or whiskey. But as many of you who’ve fallen prey to those conveniently lined up bottles at All Days know, cheap Chinese wine is something altogether different. Nothing but the color resembles wine, and it tastes more like really acrid punch punching you in the stomach.
Given, that’s just the cheap stuff, but it’s also the stuff being sold by the most outlets to the most people. And they are the only brands likely to be accessible to the average Chinese budget.
The Daily Mail actually DID have an expert do a tasting (almost missed the boxed results at the bottom of the article), and said the £45 bottle of Great Wall Cabernet tasted “lovely.” If any of our readers have had a similar experience, please let us know in the comments! So next time we decide to splurge, we know which Chinese wines are worth a try (I think we’ve all had that experience where you think “hey this one costs 100RMB so it probably tastes better, right??”)
The industry also struggles from problems with quality control – last month there was a fake wine scandal involving one wine producer who made their wine almost entirely from chemicals. Another problem is pirated wine, where they simply place copied labels from a good winery on bottles full of crap wine.
So could this massive increase in output really mean an increase in quality Chinese wine? Certainly they can manage to get a decent tasting bottle on the shelves for less than $15, right? We’ll see. But for now Australia can probably rest easy.