Fongyee Walker MW has a question.

Gold Standard

Is the western wine judging system throwing off Chinese consumers? That's the question prominent China-based Master of Wine Fongyee Walker is asking wine show judges. Walker was recently the International Judge at the 2018 RAS KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show and found herself questioning some of the judges' decisions.

“The judges would all agree this one was not a gold, and I was like, well, if you gave this to people with a different palate from yours they would actually think it was a gold, because they’re looking for different things in wine than you are.”

She goes on to say that China is hard to talk about in terms of wine marketing because it is the size of Europe with as much diversity in people, culture and food. “There are a lot of flavours and textures that have existed in Chinese culinary culture for thousands of years. For instance umami. I made a joke at the show lunch that the west only discovered umami in the last 20 years."

And with Chinese New Year on the horizon, what should Australian wine brands be doing to market to China? “Most people who market to China successfully, market to occasion, rather than palate.”

Photography courtesy of Fongyee Walker MW