How much knowledge do you know about wine? Can you tell the difference between wines from different places? Do you know your manners when drinking wine in various social situations? More and more Chinese people, especially white collars, are taking wine training classes not only for better networking but also to enjoy the rich culture of wine.
Du Lijun has more.
(Ambience: Teacher’s talking and students’ discussion)
This is a wine training class of Wine Online Culture, a company that conducts wine-tasting courses and promotes wine culture in Beijing. After learning the typical characters of wines produced from Spain and America, the teacher asks students to sip some of them and then to describe the different tastes.
Xu Xinrui, who is attending the training class for the first time, is very interested in wine. She said two years ago she knew nothing about the wine, but now knowledge of wine means a lot to her.
[SB1, Xu, in Chinese]
“I am working for a magazine specializing in alcoholic drinks. Due to this, I need to learn as much as I can about them, and I’ve found out wine is getting more and more popular among Chinese people. It’s a social fashion. I need to know wine in a professional way. I feel good in the class.”
Xu says at the beginning she just wanted to increase her knowledge about wine. After trying the wine in some small sips, she fell in love with it.
Unlike European countries, China historically didn’t have a wine-drinking tradition. Wine is a comparatively new thing in China.
Lu Jiang, chief wine advisor of Wine Online Culture Company, says the original idea of organizing wine training classes was to help those who are in need of wine knowledge. Most of his clients are hotels’ service staffers or people who want to become a wine taster.
But now things have changed; many ordinary people come to his class. They believe wine can help them become more sociable. At the same time, they also want to discover the real charm of wine.
[SB, Lu, in Chinese]
“Wine itself has a rich culture. During our two-day class you can only scratch the surface. What I would like to do is to introduce wine culture to each one of my students. I open the door for them to discover the wine. I myself think wine has its own charming taste. In social situations, wine is a symbol of being elegant and graceful. That is also the reason which explains why wine has become increasingly trendy in China, especially among the middle class.”
Zhao Hang became the fan of wine in 2006. He says since the very beginning he knew he made a very smart choice.
[SB3, Zhao, in Chinese]
“I love it. Five years ago I just graduated from the college to start my first job. And I thought I needed some new interests in my life. I found wine. I chose it because I thought wine contained a lot of Western culture. Through wine I can learn about Western countries. Now I am proud of my wine knowledge – its benefits for my social connection is just one side. What is more important is that I’ve discovered the true spirit of wine.”
(Ambience of drinking wine)
The latest figures show that the volume of wine consumed in China doubled from 2005 and 2009. And during this period, some amateurs become professional.
Chen Weiran, who is now an assistant of Lu Jiang, says wine has brought her a totally new life.
[SB4, Chen, in Chinese]
“I fell in love wine at the first taste. I like all kinds of wine. Sometimes only seeing wine without drinking it will make me happy. I enjoy the tastes of different wines and the culture of them. Wine has become an integral part in my life. Before becoming an assistant I was working in the IT field. Now instead of facing all those boring charts and diagrams, tasting the different flavors of wine has helped me rediscover the beauty of life.”
For whatever reason people start to drink wine, many of them are becoming interested in it and eventually are discovering the glamour of wine.
For CRI, I’m Du Lijun.