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- 12 Nov 2010
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Innovation in a New Field: Pairing up Chinese food and Bordeaux wines


Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner of Zhenji, a marketing firm devoted to Chinese HNWIs, reports on the initiative launched by Zhenji, Target & the Chinese Luxury Magazine to match and market Chinese food and Bordeaux wines

In China, 80 % of the wines and spirits will be drunk during a meal, a chinese meal of course for Chinese people do mostly eat their own cooking which has been given to them by the Gods. This is the reason why it is so important, concerning the wines that would like to be referenced in this country also, to work on the wines/chinese dishes pairing in terms of marketing. Here is the complex challenge in which the great wines of Bordeaux, the marketing agency Zhenji and the luxury magazine Target set off.

For Zhenji, the first thing to do was to contact the Shan brothers from the “Bonheur du Palais” in Bordeaux which is today one of the top chinese restaurants in the world not counting China. Then different classics from the best chinese cooking were selected. The ultimate purpose being that, when a client orders the well-known “Three-ducks-stuffed Duck”, a classsic of the Suzhou’s cooking, he immediately thinks of the great wine of Bordeaux to match: a Chateau Cheval Blanc. Helene Yuan, the restaurant’s wine waitress, tasted the wines and the dishes to combine them. Sent by Target, Sam Wong, a star of culinary design in Shanghai and gastronomic consultant for every restaurant in the real-estate complex of Xintiandi, put the finishing touches to the food presentation while Yoshi Omori, the photographer, was artistically matching damask tablecloths with luxury tableware and glasses to enhance food and wines.


The editor Lin Tian for his part, interviewed the chefs about their recipes or the precise vocabulary to be used in this dishes/wines pairing. For Tommy Shan, the restaurant owner, did actually create some special words to define these new pairings, words that will have to feature in the text facing each picture.

Today, Target is working on this special issue which will come out on January 5th 2011, the chinese New Year Day traditionally celebrated by many families or friends feasts where great wines of Bordeaux could be offered or drunk. But this Target special issue would also be very useful because, today, chinese restaurants have no sommelier, no-one to be consulted about wich wine could taste best with the chosen menu; a lot of personal Chinese gourmets would probably appreciate this kind of information too.

Those who listen to malicious gossips like that, in China, ginger has been added to the great Chateau Petrus or that some Chateau Lafite has been drunk down in one will surely laugh, thinking we are casting pearls before swine… Whatever happens, wine marketing in China will have to take the time-honoured chinese cooking rites into account.

Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner, Zhenji


Nathalie Omori is a specialist in the Chinese market and a senior partner at Zhenji – a marketing firm devoted to Chinese HNWIs.

They produce qualitative studies of the demographic, offering insights into various luxury sectors. Zhenji also offers seminars and creative workshops on Chinese luxury brands and work with luxury magazines to produce specialist issues.