One Twenty Over Seventy Two


After thirteen years in China I am back in the USA. Yesterday I went to the doctor and there was good news: my blood pressure was one twenty over seventy two. For your reference, here is a chart provided by the American Heart Association. My doctor also recommended cholesterol and diabetes mellitus screening.

When the blood tests came back there was more good news. Sort of. It seems my cholesterol levels are low to normal, but my blood sugar is considered “pre-diabetic.” Must have been that carrot cake I had for breakfast.

For a man crossing the threshold of retirement I consider this to be a relatively good checkup. Such was not the case in 2004 when I boarded a plane bound for Shanghai. I can say with some degree of certainty that my turnaround in health probably has more than a little to do with my diet during those thirteen years.

Here then is a link to a post I wrote a few years back!

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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!

 

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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!