Friday, June 20, 2014

Changyu—China's largest winery—hopes this bronze statue will sell wine in China.

In China's far-west desert not far from the Silk Road, this bronze rocker guitarist in garden on the east side of Changyu Chateau Baron Balboa, stands in stark contrast to images of the honorary president of the chateau, the grand Ol' Brit from Bordeaux, Count John Umberto Salvi, Master of Wine. All of this to provide the visitor Changyu's version of a "wine experience."
General Manager and Winemaker of Changyu Chateau Baron Balboa in Xinjiang, Hao Dongshu, holds a copy of my book China the New Wine Frontier to the chapter on sister winery, Chateau Changyu AFIP Global near Beijing. These are two of Changyu's current chateaux.
Changyu Chateau Baron Balboa near Shihezi, Xinjiang, is designed to be a Disney-like tourist destination under the shell of a European-style chateau. China's largest winery, Changyu,wants the visitor to experience wine culture at all of its four Sino-based chateaux, and then, of course, buy more wine. In the near future, Changyu plans to build at least two more chateaux, plus a whole wine city, which by itself will reportedly cost about 6 billion yuan (about US $1billion), near its headquarters in Yantai, Shandong Province.
A specially-designed-for-the-tourist-walkway totally encased in glass and Greek-style columns, showcases the bottling line on the left and a cellar housing French-oak barrels on the right. 
Two workers dig a hole for the concrete base for the bronze cowboy and his steady stead, which is reclining in the background.  Somehow, this must be part of the "wine experience" Changyu offers visitors. The workers found a more immediate and practical use for the statue—a hat hanging device.

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