Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nine Heaven and More from the NVV's Shanghai Success

Our day began at 10:30 this morning at Nine Heaven - the perfect name for a little event space on the ninth floor of the Fairmont Peace Hotel, on the Bund. The hotel is an historic property, authentically restored, featuring stunning art-deco styling. Although it is a bit of a maze getting around, it is so beautiful, no one seems to mind.

At our alumni brunch, our guests and vintners were treated to a breathtaking view of the Shanghai skyline and the Huangpu River. Boat traffic on the river was almost as congested as the car traffic on the freeway! Barge after barge, each loaded with materials and cargo, passed by with tourist boats weaving in and out. Vintners and the Shanghai contingent of our Experience Napa Valley: China alumni group caught up on everything new since seeing each other last September.

Experience Napa Valley alum Alvin Gho and vintner Michael Honig at Thursday's brunch

Immediately after brunch, it was time for lunch! Today's guests: representatives from the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Agricultural Trade Office (ATO), and US Embassy joined the vintners and NVV staff for a tutorial on the Chinese wine market, ways we can work together, and suggestions to enhance our success selling Napa Valley wine in China. There were lots of great questions from vintners, and a promise at the end from both parties to keep in touch and try to do more together to further the position of US wine exports in this dynamic market. My favorite quote of the day: "Things happen very fast in China. What takes 10 years to do in the US, takes one year here."

Keith Schneller, agriculture director of Shanghai office of the ATO

This evening, we partnered again with Chi Fan for Charity for a dinner for about 100 high net-worth consumers at Shook! Restaurant, across the street from our hotel. Private wealth management company Austen Morris Associates co-sponsored the event, which began with a sparkling wine reception on the terrace overlooking the Bund and the evening skyline of Shanghai.

Now we're winding down (or for some, winding up!) with a Nightlife Napa Valley tasting back at Cin Cin Lounge at the Fairmont. There's not a view of the river from here, but the inlaid ceiling, ornate art-deco light fixtures, black marble floors, and plush velvet sofas and chairs make for lovely scenery of their own.

NEWS FLASH: This just in - our logistics crew in Beijing reports that we actually had 500 attendees (not the 300 we originally estimated) at our trade tasting in Beijing on Monday - no wonder vintners ran out of wine! I can't wait to see how many turn out in Shanghai tomorrow.

Patsy McGaughy, CSW
Marketing Director
Napa Valley Vintners

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