Can China produce grape wine as fine as the French?

SINGAPORE: It’s all too easy to forget that not so long ago, wines from Australia and elsewhere in the New World, including California’s Napa Valley, didn’t enjoy the same prestige they do presently.

“It takes time to begin making good wine,” says Wes Guild, an American sommelier who worked for chef Wolfgang Puck for a decade before taking up his current post, running Singapore’s Bistecca and Artemis restaurants.

“I don’t think they were making great wine in California coming out of the 1960s,” Guild says. With a few exceptions, the same could be said of Australia.

“But with wine, every year you get a new shot at it — and with time and trial and error, after several decades of vintages, hopefully you’ll get it right.”

Guild points out the French and the Italians have been making wine for thousands of years, on farms that have been there for generations.

They have the benefit of experience. Most of China’s aspiring winemakers, meanwhile, only planted their vines within the past 10 or 20 years.

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