As part of Australia’s First Families of Wine’s (AFFW) commitment to promoting premium wine at home and across the globe, the families are returning to China for a third time next week as part of Wine Australia’s 2019 China Roadshow.
In a rapidly-changing wine landscape, AFFW is looking forward to continuing to build its profile in China and connecting with key players in the wine trade and media, telling the stories behind each bottle of wine they craft. And as AFFW heads towards its 10th anniversary, their rich stories of longevity, history, provenance and craftsmanship continue to resonate with wine-interested Chinese guests.
This will be AFFW’s second trip with Wine Australia to China, an opportunity AFFW chairman Stephen Henschke says will “strengthen a highly valued relationship” that has been built over many years.
“As AFFW, we made our first solo visit to China in 2013, followed by a second visit with Wine Australia last year, in order to help raise the image of Australian wine,” Henschke said.
“It’s fascinating to see how rapidly the Chinese market is developing and changing each time we visit.
“Chinese wine consumers are gaining more confidence as they learn to appreciate wine. AFFW embodies the spirit of historical, multi-generational wine producing families, and with the next generation of AFFW at the fore, they are able to provide the touch points for the younger Chinese wine lovers of which there are many.
“As a group we agree, and as the export figures show, the Chinese market is still very much the future for premium Australian wine.”
Kicking off on 21 May the 11 families who make up AFFW will visit Tianjin, Hangzhou, Kunming and Shenzhen during the eight-day tour, with two dedicated AFFW masterclasses highlighting Wine Australia’s itinerary.
The first masterClass, an in-depth look into Shiraz, will take place in Tianjin on the opening day of the roadshow. The event will be hosted by Lu Yang MS, the first ever and currently the only Chinese Master Sommelier. He is widely regarded as the most important and influential sommelier in Greater China and is currently the corporate/group director of wine for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, overseeing the wine program and sommelier team for more than 100 hotels of the entire group.
Yang will join family members, winemakers and key figures from each of the wineries and together, will take guests on a journey through the rich flavours and diversity of Australian Shiraz. Throughout the masterclass, each wine will be accompanied by stories and insight into what makes each individual bottle stand out from the rest.
AFFW’s tour of China will end with a second masterclass on the final day: a Mature Icons showcase in Shenzhen. With a collective 1,300 plus years of winemaking experience, each of the 11 families have produced some of the most iconic Australian wines that have created the benchmark for Australian quality.
The wine line-up boasts some of the most awarded and highly acclaimed Australian drops including Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon, Tahbilk’s 1860 Vines Nagambie Lakes Shiraz, Brown Brothers Patricia Heathcote Shiraz and Henschke’s Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz.
Facilitating the mastercClass in Shenzhen will be Fongyee Walker MW, the most qualified wine educator in mainland China. Fongyee is the co-founder, with Edward Ragg, of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, Beijing’s first and fully independent wine consulting and education service (est. 2007) which is the only Chinese provider currently teaching the full WSET Level 4 Diploma. AFFW is a long-term sponsor of Fongyee’s education business, providing premium Australian wine to give her local students an insight to premium, family made Australian wine.
Each masterclass will be opened with a corporate AFFW video, detailing who Australia’s First Families of Wine are, the motivation behind the group and their incredible contribution to the Australian wine landscape. The short video includes an introduction from industry legend James Halliday, commentary from a number of AFFW family members and is complete with Chinese subtitles.
Australia’s First Families of Wine is a proud and enthusiastic participant in many of Wine Australia’s international roadshows and will head to the UK and the US later in the year.