Chinese wine debut at the Oxford China Forum 2019

Oxford China Forum 2019 – a fantastic weekend of inspiring speakers, including Professor Chas Bountra and Professor Rana Mitter, on wide ranging topics encompassing economy, film, public health, literature, tech, art and feminism. It was broadcasted live online and was watched by over 800,000 viewers. And, for the very first time, Chinese wines were served at the special gala dinner! It was my pleasure to match the wines to the dinner menu and give a brief pre-dinner speech to introduce the wines.



Here’s my speech at the Oxford China Forum Gala dinner, 23 February 2019, held at St Anthony’s College, Oxford.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Janet Wang. I am the author of The Chinese Wine Renaissance, newly published by Penguin Randomhouse. It is my great pleasure to draw your attention to the special menu tonight – we have selected three fine wines from China to accompany the three courses.

Earlier today we’ve had a great panel discussion about China’s Belt and Road initiative, but did you know that grape wine was introduced to China via the ancient Silk Road, over 2,000 years ago? And of course, the great Beauty Yang Gui Fei and many Tang dynasty poets were ardent lovers of grape wine. Even Kangxi emperor used to drink a little red wine with his meal each day.  So the revival of the modern wine industry in China is not a new phenomenon, but a renaissance. This time round, it is a global phenomenon with international participants, and it is redefining the dynamics of the global wine market.

Tonight, we have an organic white wine from Beijing; a Bordeaux blend red wine from the Shanxi Loess plateau and an icewine from Liaoning. Notably, China is likely to become a significant ice wine producer, because with climate change, many traditional wine regions may not be able to reliably produce them in the future, for example Germany, whereas China’s vast terrains will offer suitable conditions.  As China moves towards high quality and innovation-led exports, the fine wines of China could be proudly labelled as ‘Made in China’.

I hope you enjoy the wines with your dinner, and hope this experience will inspire you to find out more about Chinese wine, and also to tell all your connections about Chinese wines, to encourage more awareness, interest and discussions about this exciting new export from China.

Cheers and thank you!


My book: The Chinese Wine Renaissance, was presented to all the guest speakers





oznorBy day: debates about China’s Belt and Road initiative at The Oxford Union

mdeBy night: experience the revival of the grape wine that was first introduced to China via the ancient Silk Road – Gala Dinner at St Anthony’s College, Oxford





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