The November 23, 2009 edition of the New Yorker contains a fascinating article by Evan Osnos titled “Letter From China – Reds: The creation of a wine-loving class.”
The article recounts a short period in the history of the A.S.C. Fine Wines company based in Beijing and run by two Canadians (a father-and-son team by the name of St. Pierre). Just as interesting as the trials and tribulations of the St. Pierre clan is the clear picture that Osnos’ article paints of fine wine consumption in China.
I’ll share some of those numbers with you in a moment, but before I do, let’s get the bottom line conclusion out of the way now: anyone who doesn’t think that China is not among the major players – if not the major player – in the world fine wine market needs to have a belly-button window installed (think about it… you’ll get it).
In a less than 15 years, China’s upper-middle class has gone from a “let’s mix red wine with soda” drinking culture to a group of savvy if star-struck fine wine and dining folk right out of a hackneyed, First-Growth-worshipping Wine Spectator lifestyle piece.
Welcome to the new world of international wine…
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By now, you’ve heard of the Millennials. Much has been written about this next generation of wine consumers, who according to NPR average 80+ text messages a day, have more disposable income (excluding mortgages) than their parents, are just reaching the legal U.S. drinking age, and are poised to displace Baby Boomers as the next big thing in wine consumption. Hell, even I’ve written about them.
While we have heard quite a bit about Millennials’ wine drinking, we haven’t heard much about Millennials taking an active part in wine making. Nor have we heard how Millennials involved in the wine industry view the buying habits of their peers.
Until now, that is.
I recently caught up via email with certified Millennial Hailey Trefethen, daughter of John and Janet Trefethen. Yes, that Trefethen, the “didn’t they win Best Chardonnay in the World back in the late `70s?” Trefethen. Hailey, along with brother Loren, has recently joined in the day-to-day involvement of the Trefethen wine business and while she’s not making the wine itself, she’s certainly making her presence known within the family enterprise and is a frequent traveling ambassador for her family’s brand.
As you’ll undoubtedly glean form reading the following interview, Hailey is well-spoken, passionate about the family business, and has a keen sense of where the wine industry is headed (not to mention being insightful enough to realize that her generation’s rock music isn’t as good as mine)…
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As many 1WineDude readers know, my grandmother passed away this week at the age of 96, having suffered from Alzheimer’s for the past few years (you can read more on that and wine’s possible connection with dementia). Posting here at the blog is taking a backseat to family matters for the next few days.
Today is just a very quick blurb to let you know that I’ve been working with the folks at MyWinesDirect.com to set up discounts on their wine selections for 1WineDude readers. From now through the end of September, new MyWinesDirect.com customers can use the code winedude to save $10 on their order.
For more info. on MyWinesDirect.com, check out their blog, Through The Wine Glass, and follow them on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mywinesdirect.