Could China take over the wine world? Cynthia Howson and Pierre Ly explore how Chinese wine went from being ignored and ridiculed to earning gold medals and praise by famous critics in less than a decade. Wine made in... China? Until recently, for most people, at best, it didn't exist. Or at worst, as one colorful tasting note described, it evoked: "ash tray, coffee grounds, and urinal crust." Then, a 2009 Chinese red shocked the world when it won Best Bordeaux Blend at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Could China take over the wine world? Cynthia Howson and Pierre Ly provide a knowledgeable and exuberant exploration of how Chinese wine went from being ignored and ridiculed to earning gold medals and praise by famous critics in less than a decade. They take the reader along on their adventure on the China wine trail to meet the farmers, entrepreneurs, and teachers who are shaping this new industry. They travel to Chinese wine tourism hotspots, talk to winemakers who struggle to find good wine grapes, and visit lush mountaintops and arid deserts to see what French multinational corporations have in common with small family farms. Then, they visit a Chinese wine school to meet professors and their students eager to join the wine work force. They reveal where they bought the best local wines as they give travelers new insights on China and ideas for Chinese wine tourism. Readers interested in current affairs, economic development, and business in China will find that wine offers a clear lens for understanding the larger issues facing the country.
Cynthia Howson is senior lecturer in ethnic, gender, and labor studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. Pierre Ly is associate professor of international political economy at the University of Puget Sound, where he teaches a popular course about the idea of wine.