Famed Chateau Montelena enters Shanghai wine market

Famed Chateau Montelena enters Shanghai wine market

Returned to popularity in the United States by the movie 'Bottle Shock,' Chateau Montelena has its sights set on the Chinese market
Chateau Montelena
In addition to award-winning wine, Chateau Montelena’s lush vineyard and beautiful surroundings offer everything you’d expect from a Napa Valley winery.

The "emerging wine market" in Shanghai doesn’t make headlines any more. Wine is here, Chinese consumers like it and these days there’s a wine bar on just about every corner.

That said, when Napa Valley winery Chateau Montelena announced its entry into the Shanghai market, more than a few wine lovers took notice.

The introduction of our wines to China is a fitting way to honor their contribution to our history.— Bo Barrett, Chateau Montelena owner

Made famous for winning the white wine section of the historic Judgment of Paris wine competition in 1976, Chateau Montelena was brought back into pop culture prominence by the 2008 film “Bottle Shock.”

The winery is now exploring its connection to China -- and Chinese consumers -- by exporting its wines to the Middle Kingdom.

"We think our Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which is our flagship wine, will gain ground the fastest in Shanghai," says Chateau Montelena owner Bo Barrett. "The Shanghai market should completely understand our Cabernet. The Montelena Estate vineyard enjoys a year-to-year advantage over Bordeaux by virtue of the consistently superior weather pattern here [in California] for growing wine grapes. We do not have the wide swings in seasonal weather events that the French suffer from."

In China to introduce the market to Chateau Montelena's current releases, Barrett will host a wine dinner at T8 on November 17 and a tasting at the Peninsula Hotel on November 18. Both events are already fully booked.

“We take nothing for granted and respect the notion that a reputation for excellence is earned,” says Barrett. “All we ask is for Chinese consumers to taste our wines, and we are confident that their quality will reflect in China the reputation that we already enjoy in the U.S.”

The China connection

Chateau Montelena’s lush vineyard, 1882 stone winery and beautiful surrounding countryside offer everything you’d expect from a Napa Valley winery. On closer inspection, it's the vineyard’s two graceful Chinese pavilions and manmade lake that set it apart from its neighbors.

Chateau MontelenaYort Wing and "Jade" FrankDuring Prohibition in the United States (1919-1933), many California wineries closed and their vineyards were either abandoned or planted with other crops. It was in this state of disrepair that Chinese immigrant Yort Wing Frank bought the property in 1958, not as a business, but as a place for he and his wife to retire.

Yort Frank’s pet name for his wife was "Jade." Together with two traditional Chinese pavilions, he built Jade Lake on the property in 1963 as an expression of his love for her.

A decade later, lawyer Jim Barrett and his son Bo bought Chateau Montelena from the Franks and began replanting the vineyards and renovating the old winery buildings.

This history in part explains Bo Barrett's interest in breaking into the Chinese market.

“We are particularly interested in China given our own history,” explains Barrett. “Yort and Jeanie Frank didn’t make wine, but they did create Jade Lake and the lush gardens that enthrall visitors to this day. The introduction of our wines to China is a fitting way to honor their contribution to our history.”

Chateau Montelena distributor

Napa Reserve
383 Weihai Lu, near Qinghai Lu 威海路383号, 近青海路
tel. +86 21 6340 0493, info@rutherfordbench.cn