China

Chinese wine-tasters scoop surprise win in France

stock photo of a glass of wine Image copyright Reuters

Chinese wine-tasters have won a taste test in France, in what organisers call "a thunderbolt in the wine world".

They came first out of 21 teams by identifying details of six white wines and six red wines without seeing the bottle or label.

The French team came second and the US team came third, while former champions Spain slipped into 10th place and the UK only managed 11th.

The Chinese competitors put their success down to knowledge and luck.

But they did say competition was fierce to get on the team.

China's wine industry has grown in recent years as the country has begun to devote an increasing amount of its land to vineyards. Last year it had 799,000 hectares (1.97 million acres) of land dedicated to growing grapes, second only to Spain worldwide.

In 2011, a Chinese winery beat a host of French rivals to collect an international gold medal for one of its wines.

The Chinese team that competed on Saturday at the Chateau du Galoupet, one of France's biggest wine estates, included Liu Chunxia, ​​Tze Chien Chen, Xi Chen, Xianchen Ma and coach Alexander Brice Leboucq.

Their surprise win saw them perform best at identifying the 12 wines' countries of origin, grape varieties, vintages, producers and appellation (geographical areas).

Organisers from the French specialist magazine La Revue du vin de France wrote that the "astounding Chinese team" were "humble even in victory".

They "conceded that in blind tasting, 50% is knowledge and 50% is luck," the magazine continued.

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