Chinese and wine

Australia is awash in wine, causing convulsions at Treasury Wines—Australia’s and world’s largest wine producer. Too much wine!

Bad weather in Argentina and France, water problems in California, slow-or-no growth in Italy and Spain pinch production in traditional major producers. Too little wine!

Then there is China, where wine demand explodes as more of its 1.3 billion people develop a taste for the grape and earn the yuan to satisfy their yen.

Affluent Chinese already have wrecked havoc with high end Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles, sending prices through the ceramic-tile roof (with nasty subplot—one-third or more of such bottles are fakes).

Depending upon who is doing the wine whining, we are on the cusp of a worldwide shortage or a worldwide glut.

Maybe, but China may be more solution rather than problem. According to industry experts, China will double its hectares under vine in the next five years—and China already is world’s fifth-largest wine grape growing country.

In five years, China could have the most land on earth dedicated to vine production (passing Spain) and produce the most wine in the world (passing France and Italy).

Chinese wine? Surely plonk. Surely not ready from prime time.

Uh, no. Like California wines in the 1970s, Chinese wines are winning international competitions. The Decanter World Wine Awards recently recognized 20 Chinese wines with medals, including a silver for a chardonnay from Great Wall Wines (China’s largest winery).

The times they are always a’changing in the wine world. Psst: that always has been part of the fun.

Tasting notes:

• Delicato Family Domino Chardonnay 2011. Really easy drinker; soft pears, green apples, citrus, vanilla; easy going, offend-no-one value. $5

• Beviamo Sparkling Moscato. Strawberry, tangerine, honey, big sweet; flirts with Champagne style; really nice ruby bottle mom will love. $14

• Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec 2010. Power nose; dark plum, blueberry in medium body, smooth w/acidity, light tannin, load of oak; try it. $21

Last round: I am out of wine. Why do bad things happen to good people?