In Veritas, Vino Wins Over Shanghai

Wine's popularity booms in China
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2008 2:13 PM CDT
Wine merchant Yunxiang Dong of China, right, tastes a Californian red wine at the international wine fair "Vinexpo" in Bordeaux, France, on June 19, 2007. The wine business in Shanghai is booming.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
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(Newser) – The wine scene, long dormant in China, is booming in Shanghai, reports Portfolio. Chinese consumers were traditionally more passionate about spirits; if anything, only red wine was taken seriously. Not anymore: Shanghai's three premium-wine importers have multiplied to more than 100 since 1999, and wine bars abound. It's a trend expected to shift the figures in a country that consumes 25% of the world's liquor but just 2% of its wine.

In addition to tasting rooms and wine societies, wine-education programs and upgraded restaurant wine lists have arrived. One clubhouse even turned a former bomb shelter into a wine cellar. This newfound popularity is due in part to relaxed wine license restrictions and a consumption tax reduction. Shanghai “is much further along in terms of development than other major Chinese cities,” says one importer.