Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Overheard in the Wine Storage Warehouse

I finally got my act together and found a place to store my wine. It had been sleeping in a friend's basement cellar, but he sold his house. Based on my own research and on a reader's recommendation, I chose Acker Merrall & Condit. We drove out there the other day with a load of wine and everything was very smooth, excellent service so far, except for a few minor and easily corrected mistakes with inventory. Advice: keep careful inventory yourself before putting wine into storage.

The warehouse is the size of an airplane hangar. In the receiving area there are stacks of wine boxes and many tables with individual bottles standing like flags waving in the breeze. I saw about 12 wooden crates of Screaming Eagle, and what looked like half a shipping container's worth of Krug boxes.

A double magnum of 1990 DRC Romanée St.Vivant caught my eye. "That's going up for auction," said our guide. A bottle of 1947 Musigny, a 1962 Latour, all sorts of of big-name wines just lounging around on these tables waiting for service.

"What's new in business?" I asked.
"The Chinese are huge buyers right now," he said. "They won't touch anything except for first growth Bordeaux, but they're buying loads of it. LOADS. They don't go for anything else, not even the great Burgundies."

Interesting, right? What do you make of that? If this is true everywhere, and not just in the world of Acker Merrall, does this mean that newly wealthy Chinese folks are buying wines as trophies? Or, are they starting to learn about wine and opting to begin with what's supposed to be the very best? Is this about saving face, and buying whatever their wealthy friends and colleagues also buy? Is it simply a lack of creativity? It made me sad to think about this.

But only for a moment. Then I realized...

Thank goodness it's first growth Bordeaux that they're after. If it were Loire wine, grower Champagne, or Beaujolais, it would really wreck my life. And I couldn't just sit around and watch it happen.

I would have to secretly enlist a few folks like McDuff, Lyle, and Alice, spend time in intense training on a unknown island, and then embark on stealth mission to China, our own sort of Enter the Dragon thing. We would visit their compounds under the cover of night and do whatever is necessary. This, of course, would jeopardize US/Chinese relations and cause all sorts of problems, maybe even war. So we should all be grateful that they're buying first growth Bordeaux. Yes, wealthy Chinese business people - be warned. Hands off Clos Rougeard, Geoffroy, and Foillard. There will be very serious consequences.

10 comments:

Jack said...

Your late to the scene on China buyers going crazy for first growths. Thank goodness Burgundies aren't on their list!

And, final warning about Clos Rougeard; Quiet! Already too hard to get here, and prices rocketing.

Brooklynguy said...

sorry, my bad.

Asher said...

On the Chinese buying Bordeaux, check this out: http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?t=172415&highlight=carruades

David McDuff said...

So, you've divulged our plans for world domination....

Steve L. said...

Mmmmm...Bordeaux and Chinese food.

I guess.

Sonadora said...

Do you need ninja outfits? Or something more wine related...hmm....maybe that's what I can do with all my leftover corks...

Edward said...

Blame it on 1855.

Lafite is first on the list and enjoys a price premium on the other 1st growths! Even the 2nd and 3rd wine of Lafite carry cachet. . .

Hong Kong, which is more outward and savvy regarding wine also gets through large amounts of Burgundy (white and red). It's only a matter of time before the mainland catches on!

Saltpepperlime said...

The problem is that these hot shot buyers are not buying the wine to drink it. They are buying the 1st growths as investments. This is really bad news.

Big chateaux, big reputation, big price, big tits, big points, big money. This has nothing to do with taste or even quality in some instances.

It will just insite the bdx producers to keep living on another planet and keeping their prices high.

The thing about Hong Kong is that they just drop what used to be really high tax on wine (the sin tax) and now it is ZERO. Mainland has not gone that low...yet.

Brooklynguy said...

i read that thread asher (my first even time on the E-Bob Board). thanks for sending the link. Seems like you could make a little extra dough...

Maybe roast duck would be nice with a fine claret Steve?

sonadora-maybe you could be one of the group of people who would offer us a safe haven upon return, a place to anonymously return to society.

i thought i've read about you drinking good burgundy while in hong kong Edward. makes sense, given how long it's been wide open.

saltpepps - as far as i'm concerned, they can to their weird thing together forever, as long as they leave my wine alone.

boyce said...

Second that its not just Bordeaux but also Burgundy that is popular - a recent auction in Hong Kong saw a lot of Burgundy sold.

Cheers, JB