Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Taking China by Storm: The NVV's Day Two in Beijing
Day 2 in Beijing was a contrast to day one. Our interactions today were more intimate, with smaller events and an emphasis on real relationship building. This morning, we hosted alums from last September's Experience Napa Valley program for a lovely brunch at the Fairmont Hotel. In spite of their busy work schedules, these local media and restaurant professionals found time to join about 15 of the traveling vintners and savor their Napa Valley wines. There were smiles, laughs, and a warm sense of renewing relationships started at our first-ever Experience Napa Valley: China program last year.
Lunch saw 40 of Beijing's "movers and shakers" from government, industry, and business break bread and share wine with 9 Napa Valley Vintners. Bruce Cakebread spoke on behalf of the NVV and challenged the group to help us meet a goal: someday, Napa Valley's wines should produce 30% of the economic impact of California wine in China - just like the percentage of Napa Valley's impact of the CA wine industry on the US. A lofty goal, but if there is a group that can help get us there, this is it.
After lunch, three vintners headed to the Beijing Agricultural University to provide a "virtual tour of Napa Valley" through slides, photos, stories, and wine. The group of 30 students was attentive, interested, eager, and inquisitive. They are making their own wine at the university and conducting some interesting research studies on wine production. Look out UC Davis!
Dinners commenced in the evening at five of Beijing's fine dining restaurants, including Mason Boulud, Grange, Temple, Vasco's, and Brasserie Flo. Each was hosted by four vintners and all proceeds went to Chi Fan for Charity, a Chinese children's charity. More than 150 consumers attended the concurrent dinner events, including many ex-patriots who love Napa Valley and our wines and just can't get enough in Beijing!
Our nightcap tonight was a Nightlife Napa Valley "after party" from 9:30-11:30p in the Fairmont Hotel lobby - back where we started 12 hours ago! The 125+ consumer guests included those who attended the dinners and wanted to keep the evening going, hotel guests, Chi Fan volunteers, and a few other friends we'd met along the way. To say it was the perfect end to perfect couple of days in Beijing would be an understatement...
Tomorrow we're off to Shanghai as the Napa Valley Vintners continue to take China by storm!
Patsy McGaughy, CSW
Napa Valley Vintners