Saturday, 28 January 2012

White wine - Golden wine?

For the Chinese, wine, by default, is red. There are various reasons why white wine is not popular in China: first, red is a lucky colour; second, the literal term 'white wine' in Chinese means the local white spirit made from rice, not grape wine; third, some say the Chinese simply don’t like white wine. But the last reason is not really valid—numerous blind tastings have demonstrated that they do like white wine if they can’t see the colour. So is it because of the confusion over the name? After all, the Chinese have a saying, ‘No need to fear being born on a bad date, but do fear being given a bad name’ (唔怕生壞命,最怕改壞名).

So how about calling white wine 'golden wine' (金酒)? Jasper Morris MW reckons it is a good idea, especially since white wine is not white anyway. Its colour ranges from pale lemon to deep gold. So he thinks the term may not even be appropriate in English. But I’m not sure if it isn't a touch too tacky, just like the lucky Chinese ‘eight’ character on Lafite 2008. China itself may have 1.3 billion Chinese, but there are still a lot of Chinese outside China who see nothing wrong with the term ‘white wine’. Equally, I’m sure there are many mainland Chinese who don’t want to be treated superficially.

What’s your opinion? A sensible marketing move to avoid confusion, or blatant commercialism? Please vote for your preference. Love to hear your comments or perhaps more alternatives.

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