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Chinese wine industry to improve its national standards
China's emerging wine industry is set to get new winemaking rules, to be drawn up by an expert committee established by government officials as the country seeks to meet international standards.
Image © China National Wine Quality Supervision and Inspection Centre.
The 27-member committee was summoned by the China National Wine Quality Supervision and Inspection Centre in December 2014 to refine and upgrade existing winemaking rules in the country. The committee will be affiliated to the Standardization Administration of China (SAC), according to a government statement.
Winemaking is a comparatively young industry in China and the country still lacks some of the quality control standards in place in other major wine producing countries, even though big strides have been made. The international body for winemaking standards, the Paris-based OIV, said China was keen to become a full member, and the OIV's director general, Jean-Marie Aurand, visited officials in Beijing and Xi'an last April.
"New standards in China will vigorously refer to the international standard, while adapt to local conditions," said Ma Peixuan, secretary-general of the new committee and vice-chair of the National Wine Quality Supervision and Inspection Centre. "The key purposes of establishing and refining the industry standards are to regulate the production process, to raise product quality, and to protect the legitimate interest of both producers and consumers. It's not clear at the current stage whether the committee will also set standards on wine grape growing, as well as what happens inside the winery."
The new committee, which is mostly formed of oenologists, wine educators, and owners of wine businesses, will also advise the industry on how to implement these standards, and analyse on the outcome, according to the secretariat of the new committee.
IWA organizes tasting
Mid-January, Italia Wine Alliance host a spring tasting in Beijing, revealing an ambitious plan for taking up the China market. Roberto Fabris, president of IWA, has been promoting Italian wine in China for 11 years. With his extensive knowledge of the market, he believes Italy will surpass France as the number one wine exporter to China. "A decade ago, Italy ranked 9th in China wine import market. After merely 10 years later, we jumped to second. With the massive working-class as Italian wine's potential consumer, I am confident about the wine China market."
The dont's of doing
wine business in China
Never say 'no', do not discuss politics, make no jokes or show the soles of your shoes when doing business in China, according to speakers at a conference in Hong Kong in November last year. During this meeting with the theme 'Business etiquette in China' a number of influential persons revealed the potential pitfalls for Westerners doing deals in China.
Among these were the manner in which business cards should be exchanged, which conference host Debra Meiburg MW said should be done with a slight bow 'as a sign of respect', while holding the card with two hands. Once you have taken your contact's card, you should stop looking at it and preferably make a complimentary comment on the card's design, or the person's position, before placing the card in a card holder, but never put it in a pocket or wallet. It is better to keep the card on the table during the rest of the meeting.
In terms of discussion topics, Sarah Wong, wine writer for The South China Morning Post, stressed that one could sensitively enquire about family members, but never ask if people are married, while wine educator Rebecca Leung added that one should not enquire about the political situation in China, which she said is a sensitive issue.
Agnes Yu from Meiburg Wine Media said that one should never make jokes during inaugural business meetings, and Quin SQ Thong, finance director for Greater China at Baronsmead Consulting, added that it was important to defer, rather than say 'no' if asked to do, or attend something, even if you knew it was not possible.
Meiburg then said it is very rude to show the bottom of a shoe, and Wong commented that should one be hosting an event, one has to be 'extremely careful about the hierarchy of guests'.
Furthermore, Meiburg pointed out that one shouldn't expect anything transactional on the first meeting, and stressed that you should always negotiate on third party territory - not your place or theirs.
Finally, she said: "Never discuss business over dinner, which is about sharing and celebrating... and you should always serve your host as a gesture of respect." As for paying the bill, one should always propose, and insist on covering the cost at least three times, before accepting your host's offer.