WINE: Direct-to-China E-commerce Platform


American Wine Merchants launches direct-to-China e-commerce platform
美国酒商推出AWM 天猫电商平台

By Ron Hendricks
罗恩·亨德里克斯

February 8, 2017
2017 年2 月8 日

Shanghai, China – In cooperation with the California Wine Institute, the Washington Wine
Board, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Oregon Wine Commission, which are
all supported by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural
Trade Office in mainland China, the American Wine Merchants (AWM) is pleased to announce
the launch of their flagship USA Wine Store on Alibaba’s Tmall.

美国酒商(AWM)宣布美国葡萄酒旗舰店将在天猫商城上正式运营。美国酒商(AWM)
上海与加州葡萄酒协会,华盛顿葡萄酒协会,纽约葡萄酒协会和俄勒冈葡萄酒协会合作联
合推广美国葡萄酒。上述葡萄酒协会也受到美国农业部海外局及其中国区农产品贸易办公
室的支持。

“This is a tremendous opportunity for US wine brands to reach end consumers in China,” said
AWM Manager, Alex Chen. “Our goal is to provide a central marketplace for USA wine products
in mainland China. We’re especially pleased to partner with Tmall, as it is poised to become the
world’s largest e-commerce marketplace by the end of 2018,” remarked Chen.

“这是一个极好的机会,美国葡萄酒将与中国的葡萄酒爱好者见面,“AWM 经理亚历克
斯·陈说,“我们的目标是为中国葡萄酒爱好者建立一个值得信赖的选购美国葡萄酒中心。
2018 年底,阿里巴巴平台将成为世界上最大的电子商务市场,我们很荣幸能与阿里巴巴
合作。”

“Another important goal of the project is to deliver wine information in Chinese as well as
English,” stated Mr. Chen. “Our aim is to create U.S. wine awareness through education,
marketing and promotion.”

“这个项目的另一个重要的意义是搭建一个传播葡萄酒知识的平台,”陈先生说,“我们
希望通过教育、营销和促销创建人们对美国葡萄酒的认知度。”

“We are especially proud to have the support of the key United States wine groups that are
backed by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural Trade
Office in mainland China in this ‘first-of-a-kind’ cooperative partnership,” said Chen. “Tmall
already boasts 500 million plus registered users in China and with the right marketing and
promotional activities we believe we can reach each and every one of these users and help
grow US wines in China.”

“我们特别自豪的是天猫电商项目获得了美国主要的葡萄酒组织的支持。这些葡萄酒组织
受美国农业部海外局及其中国区农产品贸易办公室的大力支持,”陈先生说。“淘宝在中
国拥有5 亿多注册用户,结合AWM 恰当的营销模式和促销活动,我们相信AWM 可以将
好酒传递到中国葡萄酒爱好者的手中,并提高美国葡萄酒在中国的认可度。”

AWM encourages and welcomes all USA wineries, importers and distributors to have their
products sold through the AWM-Tmall Store.

另外AWM 欢迎所有美国葡萄酒厂、进口商和分销商的产品在AWM 天猫商城上销售。

Contact/联系方式
For additional information about the AWM-Tmall Store, please contact:
更多的AWM 天猫商城的信息,请联系
Wendy Zhang, Media Relations
Office/办公室: +86.21.6403.0934
Fax/传真: +86.21.6403.0934
Email/邮箱: wendy@amwines.com

Save

Wine Wars


A Glass of Red Wine

A Glass of Red Wine

Where does the best wine come from?

Wine lovers are passionate people. If you doubt this, simply ask a devotee or two the question above. Be prepared, however. The answers are sure to be varied, entertaining and (hopefully) enlightening.

At some point, an element of regional pride may creep into the conversation. For example:  “I KNOW the best wines come from my hometown!”

Actually, I am fairly certain that some of the best wines DO come from my hometown of Walla Walla, Washington.  By way of evidence, I point to the list of top 100 wines published every year by Wine Spectator Magazine.*

Pick any year and scroll down the page. You are almost certain to find one or two (or more) Walla Walla wines featured.  Okay, okay enough of this; see what I mean about wine lovers being passionate?

Anyway, let’s step back from the debate for a moment and offer up some objectivity by way of a brief history lesson.

The “common” grape

Fine wines are made from a particular species of grape known as Vitis vinifera. Wild varieties of Vitis vinifera are believed to have originated from the Mediterranean, central European, and southwestern Asian regions. Nowadays, Vitis vinifera grapes are cultivated on every continent except Antarctica.

The earliest evidence of winemaking practices can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as in Roman and Greek texts. In ancient times, wine grape cultivation and winemaking seems to have been primarily reserved for the ruling class.

Roots of modern winemaking

During the European Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries) wine grape cultivation and wine-making began a shift from traditional methods to more scientific ones.  As European countries (notably France, Italy and Spain) began to colonize the world, they took their grapes and wines with them. Because of this, an important distinction arose between the New World (the colonies) and the Old World (the colonizers).

Old World vs. New World

Why is the distinction between Old World and New World wines important? There are several reasons. Let’s talk about a few of them…

Regulation

Winemakers in Old World countries have been making wine the same way for centuries. This is because of restrictions placed upon them by governmental and/or other supervisory organizations. On the one hand, this regulation assures a continuation of heritage and tradition. On the other hand it leaves little room for variety or experimentation.

True to the pioneering spirit, New World winemakers are afforded more freedom to follow their own concept for a particular vintage. It is also often easier for New World winemakers to incorporate the newest discoveries, techniques and advances in technology into their wine-making process.

One of the ways in which New World does follow Old is by way of a system of Appellation. The word “appellation” comes from the French verb “appeler.” It means ‘to call or name.”

Appellations are used to identify the particular source of grapes used in wine. Usually, it is a legally defined geographic region, but can also require other specifications as well. Each country has its own rules for bestowing Appellation status.

Of course, Old World Appellations have been in place for centuries. New World appellations are still being granted.

I remember when our Walla Walla Valley gained this distinction. The year was 1984 and, at that time, there were really only a handful of wineries and vineyards in the area. My sister-in-law had been tasked with helping to fill out the AVA paperwork. AVA stands for American Viticultural Area.

Although we were a fairly small “band of believers,” it was still very exciting when we got word the Walla Walla Valley Appellation had been recognized. Somehow we knew that our little valley was destined for great things in the world of wine. (Oops! There is that passion thing again.)

Vive la difference!

To be sure, there is no lack of variety among Old World wines. With such rich histories and diversity of language and culture, how could there not be? In addition to stricter regulation, however, there are other factors to consider when discussing the topic of New World wines vs. Old World wines.

In my next post I would like to delve into the concept of “Terroir,” (another word borrowed from the French).

Until then, try not to let your passion get the better of you!

Ciao for now,

Ron

* http://top100.winespectator.com/lists/

(About the writer: In the late 1970’s, Ron Hendricks partnered with his father and brother to establish Seven Hills Vineyards, the first commercial vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley Appellation. This small region in the southeast corner of Washington State regularly produces world class, award-winning wines. Ron is an author, teacher and wine lover who has lived in China since 2004.)

 

 

A Canton Christmas


901056549718538I usually order a tall brewed coffee at my neighborhood Starbucks. It’s the cheapest drink on the menu. Today, in honor of the holiday season, I’ve ordered a nutmeg latte. While I wait for my beverage, I hum along with the Muzak. “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Although it never snows in Guangzhou, I could just as easily be standing in line in downtown Seattle.

Coffee and Christmas have come to China in a big way. My nutmeg latte, incidentally, costs 32 RMB which is about $5.25 at current exchange rates. Make that coffee, Christmas and capitalism. In my neighborhood alone I can choose from a half dozen coffee shops. And Christmas decorations – don’t get me started!

I have a snapshot of workers erecting a Merry Christmas sign above the entry to our local mall. It’s dated October 25th, six days before Halloween and exactly two whole months before Christmas. Of course, Christmas is not a government holiday so there is no time off from work. But that does not seem to impede the commercial possibilities.

For me, Christmas is about traditions – family, friends, food and festivities- and, of course, there is the religious tradition as well. The first four traditions can be found in abundance during Chinese Spring Festival, which falls on January 28th, 2017. Religious tradition can also be found in China, although in lesser amounts.

My first year in China (2004) I attended a Chinese Catholic mass with a colleague on a cold Christmas Eve. We were in Jiangxi Province at the time; in a city that had a rather scarce supply of laowai (foreigners). Our plan was to slip quietly into the back row, listen for a while and then slip out as quietly as we came in. That was our plan.

Our plan changed dramatically, however, when the priest glanced up from his text and noticed two odd strangers sitting in the back. He instantly ordered two chairs be brought down front. You would have thought we were two of the three Magi as we sheepishly walked down the center aisle. The congregation stood up and began to applaud – so much for slipping out quietly!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

What’s an Agglomeration?


Map of China

Map of China

I’ve been living and working in China for nearly ten years – eight of those in Guangzhou. I’m always a bit bemused, however, by the mystified reactions from former classmates, friends and even family when I tell them where I live.

 
Historically, this area has been known as Canton, which probably accounts for some of the confusion. However, there really is no excuse for not being more informed. After all, the Guangzhou agglomeration is the world’s second largest*. Only the Tokyo agglomeration is larger.

 
What’s an agglomeration? It’s easier to describe than define. The Guangzhou agglomeration has a population of some 32,300,000 people. This area includes the Northern Pearl River Delta, Dongguan, Foshan, Jiangmen and Zhongshan. The Tokyo agglomeration** has an estimated population of 34,900,000.

*Source: http://www.citypopulation.de/world/Agglomerations.html
**The Tokyo agglomeration includes Yokohama, Kawasaki and Saitama.

A Canton Christmas


 Ho, Ho, Ho!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I usually order a tall brewed coffee at my neighborhood Starbucks. It’s the cheapest drink on the menu. Today, in honor of the holiday season, I’ve ordered a nutmeg latte. While I wait for my beverage, I hum along with the Muzak. “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Although it never snows in Guangzhou, I could just as easily be standing in line in downtown Seattle.

Coffee and Christmas have come to China in a big way. My nutmeg latte, incidentally, costs 32 RMB which is about $5.25 at current exchange rates. Make that coffee, Christmas and capitalism. In my neighborhood alone I can choose from a half dozen coffee shops. And Christmas decorations – don’t get me started! I have a snapshot of workers erecting a Merry Christmas sign above the entry to our local mall. It’s dated October 25th, six days before Halloween and exactly two whole months before Christmas. Of course, Christmas is not a government holiday so there is no time off from work. But that does not seem to impede the commercial possibilities.

For me, Christmas is about traditions – family, friends, food and festivities- and, of course, there is the religious tradition as well. The first four traditions can be found in abundance during Chinese Spring Festival, which falls on January 31st, 2014. Religious tradition can also be found in China, although in lesser amounts.

My first year in China (2004) I attended a Chinese Catholic mass with a colleague on a cold Christmas Eve. We were in Jiangxi Province at the time; in a city that had a rather scarce supply of lao wai (foreigners). Our plan was to slip quietly into the back row, listen for a while and then slip out as quietly as we came in. That was our plan.

Our plan changed dramatically, however, when the priest glanced up from his text and noticed two odd strangers sitting in the back. He instantly ordered two chairs be brought down front. You would have thought we were two of the three Magi as we sheepishly walked down the center aisle. The congregation stood up and began to applaud – so much for slipping out quietly!

Angry Birds, Angry Words


http___web-assets.angrybirds.com_abcom_img_games_223_Icon_download_ab_223x223“What if instead of tabbing over to the web browser in search of some nugget of gossip or news, or opening up a mindless game such as Angry Birds, we could instead scratch the itch by engaging in a meaningful activity, such as learning a foreign language?”

Enjoyed this post.

Angry Words

Hummus? Yummus!


hummus-2It’s usually not a good sign to walk into a restaurant during the noon hour and find it deserted, with nary a customer, waiter, or hostess in sight. I would have turned tail and left, except I’d promised to meet my Chinese student and her new boyfriend for lunch.

She had specifically chosen this Turkish restaurant in the heart of Guangzhou (Canton) because it was rumored to have one of the most mouthwatering Mediterranean menus on the metropolitan map. Since I had my choice of tables and a few minutes to kill, I began a quest for the best seat in the house.

I knew I’d probably found the most comfortable booth when I accidentally disturbed two waitresses snoozing soundly on the red tuck and roll benches. Startled to see a customer, they jumped up, wiped the sleep from their eyes and offered me a menu.

“Where is everyone?” I asked in my best Mandarin. The two sleepyheads just smiled and nodded. Apparently my best Mandarin needs some work. Just then, Monica and her boyfriend arrived. After chatting briefly with the two girls, she offered me a one-word explanation: “Ramadan.”

During the holy month of Ramadan, followers of Islam abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Since the restaurant owner and most of the customers and staff are Muslim, business hours had pretty much shifted into the night. Nevertheless, we were warmly invited to sit and order.

After some deliberation and consultation with the now wide-awake waitresses, we ordered an assortment of appetizers, salads, kebabs and platters. Had we known, we could have saved some money and just ordered appetizers. Not that the food wasn’t delicious; it was fantastic.

It’s just that they, well, they had me at hummus. And flatbread. Hot, fresh-from-the-oven, round-as-a-tire flatbread and heavenly hummus. They kept bringing it and I kept tearing off huge hunks of bread, slathering it in the hummus and eating it. It’s hard to believe the lowly chickpea can elicit such sensory delight in a full-grown human male.

Another name for chickpea is garbanzo bean; however, hummus is no ordinary bean dip. According to Wikipedia, hummus is a transliteration of the Arabic word. It can also be spelled hamos, hommos, hommus, homos, houmous, hummos, hummous, or humus. (I’d be cautious ordering that last one—you don’t want a bowl of topsoil on your bill.)

In addition to cooked and mashed chickpeas, ingredients also include olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and tahini, which is a paste made from sesame seeds. There are a myriad hummus recipes on the Internet, some with tahini and some without, so I won’t give you my recipe. I don’t have one.

I do have a horrible pun though. If you’re ever in a Turkish restaurant in China and you want to order, but you don’t know the words…just hummus.

Pardon Me, But Your Knee Is On Fire


My friend Brian and I were both limping on the same leg. What I mean is, HE was limping on HIS right leg and I was limping on MINE. Or maybe it was his left. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Brian claims his limp is from an old football injury that occasionally flares. I think he slipped in some buffalo wing sauce during Super Bowl halftime. No, wait. Brian is British. Make that World Cup and malt vinegar. I finally went to a doctor and found out what my problem was. Osteoarthritis. But I am getting ahead of my story.

We hobbled around for about a week and things did not seem to be getting any better. It finally got serious when neither one of us could make it up the stairs of our favorite Chinese Pub (is that an oxymoron?). The pub is in the basement, so we were trying to go home. There might be another reason we couldn’t make it up the stairs. But I digress.

Finally, Brian suggested we get a Chinese Fire Treatment. His ex-girlfriend is part owner of a tea shop on the other side of Guangzhou. Apparently, they do fire treatments in the back room. I know what you’re thinking, but let’s not go there. Actually, that’s what I said to Brian. And I quote, “let’s not go there.”

Chinese Fire Treatment

Chinese Fire Treatment

So the next afternoon Brian picked me up in his Buick. Yes, he drives a car in China. Buicks are very popular here because they are American. But I digress again. Re-digress?

Now, let’s examine the situation, shall we? What my friend and I were heading out to do was get ourselves lit on fire in the back room of his EX-girlfriend’s tea shop. Sound like fun? You betcha.

We arrived at the tea shop without incident. We had the obligatory Gong Fu Tea out front. Then it was time for the fire treatment. Since there were two of us, Brian went in first. Fine with me. Then it was my turn. When I went into the back room, Brian was alive and resting on a narrow massage table with his knee wrapped tightly. He gave me the thumbs up.

Now, all evidence to the contrary, I am not a complete idiot. I did have the foresight to wear shorts instead of long pants. That way, I could keep my pants on and preserve my dignity as I ran flaming out of the building. I must re-digress again. If you are reading this—which I assume you are—and you are British, then I was wearing short trousers, since you people mistakenly think that shorts means underwear.

Anyway, treatment began with some magic Chinese formula—Ben Gay, which is Chinese for “Are you out of your mind?” Actually, it wasn’t Ben Gay, but whatever it was, she slathered it all over my knee. Next, she wrapped my knee in several small towels and let me rest a bit while the magic Chinese formula soaked in.

Now, here is the part where you need to remember the famous quote from George Washington as he stood in the boat crossing the frozen Delaware river at two in the morning. “Kids, don’t try this at home!” Rubbing alcohol. I think that’s what it was. I don’t read Chinese labels so well. She soaked the towels with it and then took one of those long lighters, you know, the kind you use to start your backyard grill. She took one of those and lit the towels on fire.

I didn’t feel anything at first. But then, my knee began to warm up. About the time I was ready to panic, she deftly threw more towels over my flaming knee and the fire went out. After a while, she repeated the entire process. Then she wrapped my knee, towels and all, in plastic wrap. I’m guessing this part of the traditional treatment was added after plastic wrap was invented.

And that was it. Brian and I drank more tea and rested while the heat soaked in. Kind of like using an electric heating pad. Wait a minute… what a great idea!