Long are the days when people thought that the Chinese market was still difficult to interpret, due to the size of the nation, or an uncoded wine culture that seemed to want only wines of very low price or Bordeaux cult wines. Here are two Gambero Rosso events that testify to the success of Italian wine in China.
Gambero Rosso has been leading the best Italian companies in China, with ever increasing success, and this year – both in Shanghai and in Beijing – the events have confirmed the maturity of Italian exports to China and the interest on the part of the Chinese and the value of our wine. In Shanghai the event was dedicated to the Tre Bicchieri recipients and more than fifty companies participated. Thanks to the presence of buyers and professional sommeliers (there’s buzz around town in regards to the profession and many young people study to work as sommelier) the vastness of our national production was highly regarded, made of small artisans, large companies and family run wineries that have been producing for generations as well as winery cooperatives who for years produced wines of the highest quality at the right price. During the event there was a masterclass dedicated to the eleven special prizes of the Vini d’Italia 2019 guide.
“We have been present on the Chinese market for 4 years – Michele Montresor tells us about the Ottella company– we came here with the sole purpose of understanding the mechanisms to have a constant and not occasional presence. From now on it seemed clear that the fundamental thing was to convey the uniqueness of Italian wine. Uniqueness due not only to the characteristics of the vineyards or grapes or to the quality of the labels, but above all due to the culture of our society, to our history, to our art. The real key is getting ourselves known. I think – continues Montresor– that at this moment if producers become cultural ambassadors of our nation, there is much space for the great Italian products in China. In this context, Gambero Rosso – concludes the Ottella speaker – has played and is playing a key role in the importation of Italian wines. Gambero Rosso in China has a high reputation even in public places and this is very important here. Thanks to Gambero Rosso many Italian wines have had their fame and this happens because here is a company with very important credibility.”
However, it’s not just wine that stands out during the event. Also at this stage we talked about quality Italian dining abroad. For several years Gambero Rosso selects and rewards the best Italian businesses in the world, be they restaurants, trattorias, pizzerias or wine bars. In Shanghai, 4 businesses were awarded prizes. Starting with Otto e Mezzo, the beautiful venue of Umberto Bombana Shanghai, continuing with Va Bene, a restaurant with creative cuisine and a streamlined but fun wine list, then moving on to Da Marco, a restaurant awarded with Due Gamberi, and concluding with Niko Romito al Bulgari who debuts with Due Forchette. Niko Romito also won the special “Taste & Design Award” partner of the Surgiva event, the Trentino water owned by the Lunelli family. Finally awarded was wine bar Uva da Contadi Castaldi, another special prize for Franciacorta for the best wine list.
From Shanghai we travel to Beijing for the “Vini d’Italia” stage that includes wineries reviewed in the latest Guide. Hosted at one of the great halls of the Four Season Beijing, more than thirty cellars offered tastings of their labels to the public. The presence was enriched by the Consortium of Sannio that, through a dedicated corner, introduced as many as 10 Campania businesses. According to the producers, even in Beijing the exclusive trade presence (journalists, buyers, importers) marked the success of the event. “We started working in China eight years ago, but only through small local fairs where there was only talk of quantity and not quality. Everything changed when Gambero Rosso assigned Tre Bicchieri to the Carmignano Riserva and we decided to participate in the Gambero Rosso events.” These are the words of Dario Pierazzuoli of Tenuta Le Farnete and Cantagallo. “Compared to the trade fairs in which we had already participated, in the meetings organized by Gambero Rosso we’ve always found a captive audience that tapped into the quality of the products, not looking merely at the price or weight of the empty bottle, an audience who appreciates lesser known local vines and microzones compared to the more famous Doc and Docg,” continues Pierazzuoli.
Furthermore, even in Beijing, quality Italian dining is on the rise. The Top Italian Restaurant Guide available at www.gamberorosso.it/restaurants has awarded 5 restaurants. Mio, a restaurant located inside the Four Season, conquers Tre Forchette highest recognition. Due Forchette go to Opera Bombana, Una Forchetta to Cèpe, Due Spicchi for Bottega, one of the most convincing pizzerias in the East. Space also dedicated to traditional trattorias with Prego, a place that focuses only on traditional recipes of our nation.
In short, because of it’s success, even Italian cuisine in China is in expansion. By observing the cooking shows organized by Barilla (partner of the event) both in Shanghai and in Beijing was enough to understand the Chinese market’s interest in Italian food and wine.