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.