A team of wine-tasters from China has scored an unprecedented victory at one of France's most prestigious wine tasting events. It's the first time the prize has been won by tasters from China.
Organizers from wine magazine La Revue du vin de France described the result as a "thunderbolt in the wine world." The French team came in second, with the US trailing third.
The Chinese team correctly identified 12 red and white wines from across France, and were the only one of 21 teams with a perfect score.
The team modestly credited its victory to "50 percent knowledge [and] ... 50 percent luck."
European wine has been growing in popularity in China for some time, according to Vincent Ni, an editor at the BBC’s Chinese Service.
“French wines have been sold in China as a symbol of the middle class — and Italian wines are also sold in China as a lifestyle symbol,” he says. This is only a relatively recent development, according to Ni. During the Cultural Revolution, a liking for foreign drinks could be dangerous.
“Forty years ago, if you wanted to have a glass of French wine you could be punished by the government — it was labeled the bourgeois lifestyle,” says Ni.
China now has one of the largest areas of agricultural land devoted to wine production (according to the Daily Telegraph), although relatively little of it is consumed in the West. China’s reputation as a wine producing country received a boost in 2011 when a Chinese winery beat a number of French producers to win an international gold medal.