Total Tops Last Year’s Wins
The recently announced prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards have recognized 20 Chinese wines this year, a number comparable to past years which demonstrates that China’s wine brands are slowly building up international prestige.
The highest title given to Chinese winemakers this year was the “silver” award, which went to the Great Wall Terrior 2006 from Shandong and Domaine Helan Mountain Special Reserve Chardonnay 2011 from Ningxia. In addition, nine wines received the “bronze” award and eight the “commended.”
This year’s showing for Chinese wines was respectable compared to last year’s total of 18 awards. In addition, the prize has seen several standouts in recent years. Although the highest award of gold didn’t go to any Chinese wines this year, a wine by Chateau Reifeng-Auzias received the honor in 2012. In 2011, Ningxia winery Helan Qing Xue’s Jia Bei Lan Cabernet Dry Red 2009 was the first Chinese wine to receive the top prize for the entire competition.
A controversy that was stirred over Jia Bei Lan’s win in 2011 demonstrates how far Chinese wine has to go to overcome international attitudes about its quality. After the award announcement, Decanter was accused of deliberately selecting a Chinese winner in order to pursue business opportunities in China. According to Boyce, the skepticism expressed about the prize reflected a “deep disdain of anything related to Chinese wine.” He criticized these attitudes, stating,
“A true skeptic needs to be able to accept that both of these statements might be true: 1) China’s wine industry faces many problems and 2) some people in China make quality wine.”
Since then, Chinese wines have been gaining ground internationally. Changyu Wine, which was recently named one of China’s 50 most valuable brands, is being sold in several London locations after taking on European consultants.