• The 25th Concours Mondial began today in the Haidian District of Beijing
  • Host country China enters nearly 500 wines

Photos from the opening ceremony (Flickr)

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The 25thConcours Mondial de Bruxelles (“Concours Mondial”) started today in the Haidian District of Beijing. A record number of judges (over 330) from around the globe will taste a record number of wines–over 9,180. China made a major contribution to these results by entering more than 480 wines -an increase of 90.2% compared to 2017.

Yin Yong , Vice Mayor of Beijing; Baudouin Havaux, Chairman of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles; Yu Jun, Party Secretaty of  Haidian District Committee; Dai Binbin, Chief of Haidian, and representatives of Haidian’s Friendship Cities: Maekawa Akio, Mayor of Nerima City, Tokyo and Lee Jeong Keun, Director of Seodaemun Gu Welfare and Culture Bureau, Seoul took part in the official opening ceremony at the Nirvana Resort in Beijing on the afternoon of May 10, 2018.

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“China is definitely the place where the wine sector is developing the most in terms of production and consumption. China has become the biggest market for some of the leading wine producing countries in the world”, comments Baudouin Havaux. Winemakers’ associations are setting up businesses there, opening regional offices and building up sales networks. The dynamic development of the Chinese market has led the organizers of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles to leave Europe and take the competition to Beijing. This is the first time a wine competition of this magnitude and significance is being held in Asia.

The 2018 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is destined for success, according to Chinese culture, where eight is considered the luckiest number. China’s luck is evident, even at the start at the competition, as it is the first Asian country in the 25-year history of Concours Mondial to rank among the top five for the number of entries. Over 150 Chinese companies entered wines in the 2018 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, thus placing China right after the leaders France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

By way of a comparison, China took part in the Concours Mondial for the first time in 2006 with only 8 wines.

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In 2018, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles sees a rise of nearly 60% in the number of organic and biodynamic wines. Chinese entries accounted for a large share of this increase as over one third of entries from China are organic. “China plays a pivotal role in the wine industry and is poised to play a greater role in the global wine market”, commented Baudouin Havaux, Chairman of the Concours Mondial, at the official opening ceremony. Last year China won 78 awards (including 4 Grand Gold and 33 Gold Medals).

Chinese consumers set great store by medals, which play an important part in their purchasing decisions. Recently, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles struck an agreement with the Haidian district of Beijing to promote CMB awarded wines in the Chinese market. Four supermarket chains (7 days Fresh, 24 Hours, CSF Market and Cuiwei Department Store Cuiwei Department Store) with a total of 130 locations in the district of Haidian are taking part in the initiative, selling medal-winning wines from the competition. The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, whose main focus is on providing consumers with a reliable quality cue, is acting as a benchmark for Chinese consumers.

According to the International Wine and Vine Organisation (OIV), there has been a rapid rise in planted areas of international wine grape varieties in China.[1]Ninety two percent of all Chinese entries in the 2018 Concours Mondial are varietals of international origin: Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlotand Syrah, which are some of the most planted varieties in the world[2].

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Wine regions spearheading production of these varieties are: Ningxia (“the stellar wine region in China”), Xinjiang (the area with the largest wine grape production), Heibei (“the homeland” of the first Chinese dry white wine and the first Chinese dry red wine),Beijing (where winemaking can be traced back a hundred years), and Shandong (the area with the highest sales of wine by volume and value).

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The Haidian District of Beijing hosting the 2018 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is known as the centre of China’s IT industry and is often referred to as the Chinese Silicon Valley. It is therefore no coincidence that the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles chose Haidian to introduce a new digital wine evaluation system. The tasting sheets are being replaced by tablets. The digital evaluation is safer, faster and more accurate. Moreover, other technologies such as robots for wine-carrying, surrounding 3D screens and facial scanning system will all make the competition more tech-savvy and efficient.
In addition to its innovative technology credentials, Haidian also has a long-standing and deep-rooted cultural heritage. It is home to most cultural vestiges in Beijing and to one of the oldest wineries in China – The Dragon Seal Winery founded in 1910. In 2006, Dragon Seal became the first and only museum in Beijing dedicated to wine history and culture.

The Chinese edition of Concours Mondial includes master classes on Chinese wines and the market, 3 days of tasting sessions, winery visits to the regions of Fangshangand Yangkingand tourist attractions such as the famous Summer Palace in Beijing. Each day begins with a Chinese Kung Fu and Tai Chi performance and ends with a Peking Duck Cookery Show or another traditional event like a dinner at the Chinese Royal Gastronomy Museum in Royal Xiandu.

During a public event in the centre of Haidian, consumers will be invited to follow the tasting sessions on a giant screen and to taste some awarded wines from the previous competition in Valladolid, Spain.

50 Chinese experts will judge wines at the 2018 Concours Mondial. The results will be published a week after the competition at http://results.concoursmondial.com

Concours Mondial 2018 is organised with the support of the Beijing Municipal Government,the People’s Government of Haidian Districtand the Beijing International Wine and Spirit Exchange (BJIWSE), a company professionally committed to the wine trade, serving customers across the world.

[1]http://www.oiv.int/public/medias/5888/en-distribution-of-the-worlds-grapevine-varieties.pdf

[2]http://www.oiv.int/public/medias/5888/en-distribution-of-the-worlds-grapevine-varieties.pdf