Back in November, we told you guys about how China was taking a keen interest in California’s wines both for their own personal consumption and for business investment purposes. Well, China hasn’t quite moved on from California yet, but they are becoming smitten with a country that is known worldwide for their wine: France.
This past weekend, The New York Times published a story about China and their new obsession with French wine. Knowing that France has a centuries-old tradition of fine wine, a lot of Chinese students are flocking to the country’s wine institutes to get some serious training from the world’s best. At the Bordeaux International Wine Institute, 30 percent of their current class is made up of Chinese students; the only nationality representing a larger percentage is the French.
What some people don’t realize is that these Chinese wine-lovers aren’t traveling to France to begin their education in wine. Many students began their wine studies in China and completed undergraduate courses at home; they’re in France now for a graduate-level education. China has many of their own oenology programs and it’s not uncommon for these individuals to grow up working on their family’s vineyard and/or selling wine in a family-owned shop.
The article in The New York Times touched upon the fact that along with China’s growing interest in French wine culture comes some trepidation from France itself. Some have a general fear of change when it comes to their rich history, while others are concerned that there could come a point when China actually pulls ahead of France in terms of actual wine production. China is much bigger geographically and population-wise, so the French are afraid the infiltration of students may be the first step in a Chinese takeover of the wine industry.
The article, however, also points out that they feel these concerns are misplaced. The author said “Not only does the explosion in China’s interest in wine bode well for the French economy, but the connections built between French vintners and their Chinese students will pay enormous cultural dividends for both countries.”
What do you think? Does China have what it takes to become number one in the wine industry?