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A big sale — to China

Just about anything, at any time, can happen working retail. But, two weeks ago at our small winery, something occurred that I suspect could only happen right now, during China’s ascending financial star.

During a tasting with four business professionals, only Eli, having lived in New York City for many years, spoke English. She effortlessly interpreted while mixing in her own impressions of the wines.

They showed little appreciation for the five wines that were not sweet. Then, we came to the blueberry dessert wine. “Ah,” said one, smiling. No translation needed.

They talked among themselves in rapid-fire Cantonese, gesturing at the prices posted. Then Eli said: “We would like to buy all of this wine. What is the price?”

They assumed I had enough to fill a 20-foot ocean shipping container, which, once we talked, I clearly did not. “How about,” I said, “I make it for you next vintage? How many cases would that be?”

Eli said she needed a tape measure with centimeters. I fetched it and slid a pen, pad, and calculator across the counter. She measured a wine box, quickly punched in the numbers, wrote down a figure, and pushed it over to me.

A curious number, it was almost exactly our usual annual production — of all our wines combined.

Now, our dessert wine made from blueberry juice is unique (and our only sweet one), yet adding sugar to any wine has a certain standardizing effect. I queried Eli: Surely there were producers in China that could do something similar at a fraction of the price? “Yes,” she said, “but it is the American label — very popular.”

Contact info and handshakes ended the meeting.

BizBuzz Best Buy Red: 2010 De Angelis Rosso Piceno Marches (Italy). I really don’t know of a better grape marriage than the bright-berry fruitiness of Sangiovese with the darker bramble, earthy nerviness of Montepulciano. This is a breathtaking little red with mulberry and licorice flavors, a full body, and a vivid finish with grilled foods. About $9. Rosé: Mas de Guiot Rosé Costieres de Nimes 2010 (France). A couple of columns ago, I lusted after the Mas Guiot red, and this producer’s blush (mostly Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre) is hardly less spectacular; likely because three grapes are used, it is uncommonly complex for pink wine — and juicy, and sensual. Look for the new vintage (2011) any day. $9.

One comment

  1. Congratulations!
    The “Made in the USA” brand is a valuable asset in a lot of Asian countries!
    All the best!
    Sheila