Lodi Wineries Triumph in China

Ξ August 21st, 2008 | → 6 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Interviews, Wine News, Wineries |

What would it mean to a California winery to attend the first Hong Kong International Wine Fair? With more than 250 exhibitors from 25 countries and regions attending? It would mean nothing less than a foot in the door of one of the fastest growing markets in the world! Such an extraordinary opportunity recently came to eight Lodi wineries.
The story begins simply enough. Dave Pechan of Miramont Estate Vineyards writes,
“We landed our first export deal to China this spring that shipped in late May. Kate Campbell, a writer for the California Farm Bureau, Ag Alert, wrote a cover story about our accomplishment. The story was picked up by several outlets for business news and read by Mr. Frank Gayaldo, a Lodi, CA, export wine broker [who] is attempting to get into several export markets. He worked with the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, asking them to be a sponsor. Eight wineries were accepted and we collectively are being represented by the Lodi Chamber, and Frank this week in Hong Kong.”
Indeed, as was widely reported (video link here), Frank Gayaldo, an international wine broker based in Lodi, spearheaded a successful visit to the area by China’s Consul General Gao Zhansheng along with members of the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office out of San Francisco, August 6th. The remarkable result was the Lodi Chamber of Commerce and eight local wineries heading to China to participate in the Hong Kong International Wine Fair, August 14 to 16. The represented wineries were: Abundance Vineyards, Barsetti Vineyards, Benson Ferry, Irish Vineyards (Calaveras Co.), Miramont Estate, Van Ruiten Family Winery, Watts Winery, Weibel Vineyards, all from Lodi (with the exception noted).

Mr. Gayaldo had organized a similar promotional event October, 07 when, after he put the Lodi Chamber of Commerce in contact with the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, representatives from a dozen Lodi wineries were to attend EXPOVINO 2007 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

My understanding is that only Lodi wines were served at that event (click ‘promotional’ link above).


After having read the initial report of the Consul General’s visit I asked to be kept abreast of post-event news, and I went further, asking wineries for their comment and impressions.

Mr. Gayaldo sent the pic below and this message to all who participated,


“Good morning from Lodi!

As most of you already know, the Lodi Chamber of Commerce participated in the 1st Annual Hong Kong International Wine Fair. In fact, I just got back from beautiful Hong Kong yesterday. What a lovely and highly strategic place to do business.

Hong Kong recently lowered their tariff on wine to ZERO. How exciting that Costa Rica is moving in that similar direction also.

Lodi’s previous international activities in Costa Rica and now China are continuing to bring a tremendous amount of positive international media attention to our region. Our wineries are just beginning to receive some tangible benefits from this, but international business is not for those companies looking to only harvest the “low hanging fruit.”

I am really looking forward to participating in EXPO VINOS COSTA RICA 2009!!”

Brian Mom, Sales and Marketing contact for Miramont Estate Vineyard, sent this news release,
“Miramont Estate Vineyards owner Dave Pechan is profoundly excited about the opportunity to conduct business in Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China and other nations along the “Pacific Rim.” The recent inaugural trade event sponsored by the Hong Kong Trade Development Center (HKTDC) allows small family-operated businesses like ours the opportunity to meet potential agents and consumers that are otherwise difficult if not impossible to reach one at a time. The fact that nearly 20,000 new consumers potentially saw our wine brand is incredibly significant for our plans to build a successful wine business. We graciously thank the HKTDC, their trade partners and Mr. Frank Gayaldo for representing Miramont Estate Vineyards and Celestial Wines. We are eager to continue developing relationships with export partners and consumers because of this trade event. We look forward to future events of this scope.”
Janis Barsetti Gray, in addition to providing the photo to the left (Barsetti wines are on the right, the ones with the medals!) and one pic below, wrote the following,
“I am very happy to give you some of my insight on the Hong Kong International Wine Fair. There were four of us representing the 8 wineries: my husband, Richard, myself, Frank Gayaldo, and Gregg Meath.

I want to first say that I loved Hong Kong. The people, everywhere we went, were extremely nice, helpful, and respectful to us. The International Wine Fair was very well organized and first rate. The attendees for the first two days were limited to importers/exporters, distributors, restaurants, hotels, and trade people in general. We received much good response about the wines we brought from Lodi. However, what I heard from this group of people was that the Chinese people prefer such foreign wines as French, Italian, Australian, Chile, and some U.S.; and that they pay high prices for them. They buy the wines that they are most familiar with. The trade attendees were not very familiar with the zinfandel from the Lodi Appellation. However, there is a tremendous market for wines in, not only China, but the entirety of Asia [text slightly modified, Admin].

However, on the third day, what we had been told about the Chinese wine favorites was not evident because the public loved the wines we poured. We were constantly pouring our wines for almost 9 hours. We had the opportunity to talk about our region and the wines from here. Zinfandel was, most definitely, a favorite. These attendees were interested in trying new wines regardless of their familiarity to our region. We not only poured our wines, but we educated the people about the Lodi Appellation and the types of grapes and wine produced here.

Very good contacts were made. I am already receiving emails from, not only trade people, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, but the public expressing their interest and thanks for bringing our wines to Hong Kong. Our winery will most definitely seek exporting into this market.”

And Dr. Gregg Meath, grape grower, law professor and attorney who specializes in international law, writes,
“The HKTDC did a great job promoting and executing the Wine Fair. It was a first-class event that was global in scope and effect. Working with the HKTDC was a pleasure and they made exhibiting at the Wine Fair easy and comfortable. This event has established the Hong Kong International Wine Fair as one of the the premier global wine shows.”
A very productive time was had by the Lodi group. Moreover, the enthusiasm in the e-mails exchanged these past few days was positively infectious! I eagerly awaited contact while watching the Beijing Olympics, imagining what it must be like to be visiting the center of the world. Many thanks to Frank Gayaldo and Janis Barsetti Gray for providing me insight into their group’s delightful experience.
For a full listing of the international wines represented click here.


6 Responses to ' Lodi Wineries Triumph in China '

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' Lodi Wineries Triumph in China '.

  1. Frank Gayaldo said,

    on August 21st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you REIGN OF TERROIR for bringing both Lodi and the 1st Annual Hong Kong International Wine Fair such excellent exposure!

  2. Dave Pechan said,

    on August 22nd, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Great Story, Small wineries finally are beginning to reach the world, and your blog story is a help. Thanks, Dave

  3. Administrator said,

    on August 22nd, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Mr. Gayaldo and Mr. Pechan,
    It was my pleasure.

  4. Robert Mulder said,

    on December 22nd, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Looking to join the next trade fair

    Need help in getting wines thru Chinese Customs.

    Robert Mulder 323-833-1882

  5. on December 22nd, 2008 at 11:08 am


    There should be exception allowances for samples being sent in to a foreign country for the purposes of a trade fair. Contact your local chinese consulate or embassy and there should be a link to economy or trade that will lead you to your local economic affairs officer that should be able to get you the information you need.

  6. Peter Walker said,

    on July 14th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    This is fantastic news for these hardworking Lodi Wineries. After spending four years in Asia (India, China, and Malaysia) I can say that the wave of the middle class consuming culture is Asia. I am currently producing the second season of a international wine series here in California. We will be travelling to Malaysia and ten other Asian countries in October to film the explosive Asian Wine Market. For anyone interested please have a look at our website
    http://www.winerevolutionmedia.com and let me know if you are interested in getting featured on our second season episodes in California. We will be at the California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara over the next few days. Keep up the amazing wine Producing!!

    Peter Walker
    Wine Revolution Media LLC
    Taos, New Mexico

Leave a reply

From the Vineyard to the Glass, Winemaking in an Age of High Tech


  • Recent Posts

  • Authors