Monday, April 16, 2012

Tales from China

36 Napa Valley Vintners, 1400 bottles of over 150 different Napa Valley wines and 2 NVV staff members:

Beijing "Celebrates Napa Valley"

Our first full day of activities in Beijing is off to a roaring start. The three, concurrent morning seminars were well attended - 80 total trade and media...not bad for first thing on a Monday in the traffic-filled city of Beijing! The seminars focused on three important aspects about the Napa Valley: diversity of terroir (featuring Cabernet Sauvignon from 5 different parts of the Valley); diversity of varieties (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel); and a presentation of 2001 vintage wines that showcased age-ability. Our vintner panelists were in their element sharing their love of Napa Valley with the eager attendees.

Each seminar started with a Napa Valley Rocks presentation and my favorite part of the day was walking from room to room listening to our vintner presenters passionately telling the Napa Valley story - practically in unison!

The trade and media lunch was so well-attended, the hotel had to move the buffet line to the hallway so we could add more seats - 100 total, including our vintner hosts, who were all smiles afterward.

Then the piece de resistance: the afternoon trade and media walk-around tasting. We opened the doors early because the foyer was so full of attendees waiting to get in. We ran out of our 250 tasting books about 30 minutes in and have seen more than 300 young, exuberant Chinese trade and media, curious about Napa Valley, our vintners, and our wines. Apparently we were the big buzz on Weibo (China's answer to Facebook and Twitter) and we're all feeling a bit sorry for the Portuguese who are hosting a wine tasting across town - I can't imagine that anyone is there because surely they are all here! Fongyee Walker, who aspires to be China's first MW, is heading up our guest registration and is also quite popular with the crowd.

Doug Shafer has just come over to chat - he's already out of wine 1.5 hours into the tasting. Blake Chambers from Amuse Bouche has joined us as well in the back of the room, also out of wine. I think that will be the theme of the day, but I say it's a good problem to have. Looks like the tasting will end as it began - early.

Tonight vintners will entertain consumers at four concurrent dinners, while a couple of us will be dining with Premiere Napa Valley bidders from Beverage Warehouse in LA, who happen to be in town at the same time we are. Beijing is just that kind of a place...

Patsy McGaughy, CSW
Marketing Director
Napa Valley Vintners

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