France has long been considered the epicenter of the wine world, but at one recent international competition, the country's top wine tasters were beat out by an unexpected competitor. In a blind tasting at France's Chateau du Galoupet wine estate, vino experts from around the world—including Belgium, Spain, America, and China—stepped up to the plate against top French tasters. In a conclusion that shocked everyone, it was the Chinese who took home top prize.
According to The Guardian, the win, which event organisers say was a "thunderbolt in the world of wine," reflects China's rapidly growing wine industry that could very well give the old-school French vintners a run for their money. In recent years, large sections of Chinese land have been devoted to creating new vineyards. As of last year, 1.97 million acres of the country's land had been dedicated to grape growing operations—the second most in the world after Spain.
- What Does a $300 Bottle of Chinese Wine Taste Like?
- What China Can Teach Us About Wine
- Chianti in China
The competition, which was orchestrated by La Revue du vin de France magazine pitted 21 teams against each other for the ultimate taste-off. Each team was asked to blindly identify the specific details of six red and white wines, including the vintages, countries of origin, grape varieties, and more. After China, France took second place, the U.S. took third, and Belgium—last year's runner-up—slipped to fourth. Despite their abundance of vineyards, Spain fell short and placed in tenth.
While the event organizers noted that "the astounding Chinese team conceded that in blind tasting 50 percent is knowledge and 50 percent is luck," the win still reflects a changing tide in the wine world. China's growing presence in the vino industry is no flash in the pan... or the bottle.