And when I say fake I don’t mean that the grapes have been doctored, I mean that they’ve taken alcohol and food coloring, mixed them together in a lab, plunked it into a bottle, labeled it as some fine vintage and shipped it off to some unsuspecting Chinese person who has only tried wine a few times in their life and has no clue. Some interesting quotes from a farmer, who was the main source in a recent South China Morning Post article about Changli – a small coastal county in Hebei , China’s equivalent of France’s Bordeaux region.
‘Eighty per cent of the wines made by these wineries were not 100 per cent grape juice.’
‘To make wine, you need three to four months to extract and ferment the grapes. Not even the most frugal workshop owner can make a bottle of wine for less than 12 yuan (US $1.50). All you have to do is mix water with chemicals, and overnight you’ll see a profit.’
‘I can promise you that if you buy a bottle of wine for less than 30 yuan in Beijing, it must be fake.’
As the Chinese get wealthier, they have been snapping up Western goods at insane rates… they’ve single-handedly driven the price of Bordeaux worldwide through the roof. Wineries in France are now saying that their most important market is China, even before France!! The article goes on to summarize why the Chinese are so hesitant to trust local products:
The result is yet another blow to public confidence in the mainland’s food safety standards – an issue that came into the spotlight two years ago when powdered baby formula made from milk adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine to boost its protein level made 300,000 babies ill and killed at least six. However, how long it will take for Changli – once China’s wine-making hope – to shed its label as a fake wine production hub is anyone’s guess.