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A chateau in Bordeaux. Image by Charl Young via Compfight

At the 2011 Vinexpo, the large annual trade fair held in Bordeaux, 1 in 3 of foreign visitors were Chinese. According to The Winespectator: '…the trade fair is often perceived as a predominantly French event, (but) its organizers and its host region have been trying out some different accents to stay fresh and relevant in the global marketplace.'

While the largest number of visitors came from France as usual, China ranked second. “The attendance from China doubled compared to 2009,” said Vinexpo chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre. “We expected that to a certain extent, but we were still quite surprised by the size of the delegation.” 

The expo catered to this new market by hosting several seminars targeted at Chinese wine buyers, including one on pairing Sichuan cuisine with different vintages of sweet French wines.

At the lavish closing dinner, held at Château Lascombes in Margaux, Chinese Terracotta Army-style statues flanked the dining pavilions, the menu was written in French, English and Chinese, and the classic red Bordeaux pairing of lamb was accented with a nori crust.

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