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Please accept my apology if I gave the impression your previous reply had
angered me; not at all. Your enthusiasm for the fascinating subject of wine is
admirable. You must always speak your mind! The title of this post is "Vino
Veritas" - a Latin phrase meaning "in wine there is truth".
Let me reply to your queries.
Even though my business hosts could afford interesting table wines, they tend
to fall back on tradition at formal dinners and serve traditional drinks like baijiu.
I don't criticise them for that as they are only following traditional custom. It is
the responsbility of wine educators such as myself to encourage the serving
of table wines at such events; hence my fine wine courses in Shanghai.
Wine drinkers are less likely to become alcoholics (addicted drinkers) than
those who prefer wine and beer. This is because wine is associated with
food and not seen as something to quaff for the purposes of getting drunk.
When I am on Nanjing Donglu, I see drunk people (mainly men) coming out
of restaurants (where they have had baijiu) or out of the beer halls (for example
that German beer tent on Nanjing Donglu). Wine is a drink for enjoyment, not
a means ot get drunk. The issue of cost is a sad factor of life! We all aspire to
things we can't afford. However, we just have to buy wines that we can afford. I
grew up in a poor family in the UK, so I know what it is to want things I can't have.
However, I will run wine tastings in China that for about 100RMB allows
someone to taste as many as 15 good wines, which is good value. Also,
going to such tastings allows people to discover hwta they like, so that they
know what to order in the future - one of the reasons some people don't
order wine in restaurants is that they don't know if they will like it, as they
do not know much about wine.
European wine has been developed specifically to match the diverse foods
of Europe. French cuisine is seen as the finest in the world and has
developed an extensive list of excellent food-wine matches. It's main
challenger is Italy, which also boasts delicious food and wine combinations.
The food and wine culture of France, Italy, Spain, Greece has moved north to
Germany, the UK and the Scandinavian countries. Even in a small regional
city in the southwest of England (population 250,000) I can choose restaurants
from more than 30 countries (including all 4 Chinese regional cuisines) that
all have extensive lists of wine from all over the world (Europe, Australia,
South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, America, Argentina etc). Such choice has
improved everyone's enjoyment of dining out.
Life is often unexciting and mundane, so anything we can do to make it more
interesting should be embraced wholeheartedly.