Friday, April 20, 2012
Our day began as it did just five days ago in Beijing - with three concurrent seminars focused on Napa Valley's diverse terroir, its wide variety of wine grapes, and a demonstration of the age-worthiness of our wine. More than 70 trade and media attended.
As always seems to be the case in China, we had one last minute kerfuffle - no spit cups. So, Cessa from the NVV staff grabbed one of the hotel's bi-lingual bellman (did I mention they wear 1920's-inspired uniforms with little pill-box style hats?) and off they went down the streets of Shanghai looking for small paper cups we could put out at each seminar seat as a spittoon.
They were successful, returning with cups that were probably intended for a child's birthday party - each was decorated with an array of cartoon elephants! Well, one can't be too particular when your program is about to start, so away we went, tasting and spitting Shafer, Cain Five, Silver Oak, Pine Ridge, Swanson, and more into our little elephant cups! One learns to be flexible when traveling in a country like China.
After lunch it was back up to the 9th floor, this time in the Cathay Room overlooking the Bund, for a wine and food pairing lunch. Abundant dishes of Western and Asian treats were served to go with Napa wines - smoked pork, grilled beef tenderloin, stir-fried tofu, sautéed "fungus" (mushrooms), poached fish, and more. If you walked away hungry or thirsty, it was your own darn fault.
About 400 local trade and media came out for the afternoon trade tasting in the beautiful, historic ballroom. Many attendees commented on how much they enjoyed spending the afternoon at this beautiful, historic hotel.
Tonight we did the "divide an conquer" routine once again with a walk-around tasting for about 100 consumers with Napa Reserve (owned by the Chow family, long-time friends of the Auction and the NVV) and three concurrent vintner dinners at top Shanghai restaurants. I've heard rumor of an after-party at a very exclusive private club, but I'm afraid it's off to bed for me. Tomorrow most of us board a mid-day flight for SFO...back to the place we've been bragging about all week. Back to the place we all love. Back to the place we call home. Back to the Napa Valley...
Patsy McGaughy, CSW
Napa Valley Vintners