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Chinese film star Zhao Wei launches Bordeaux wines

Famous Chinese actress Vicky Zhao Wei has launched wines from her Bordeaux Château Monlot in China, featuring both high end and more 'affordable' offerings.

At a private party and tasting attended by Decanter in Beijing, Vicky Zhao Wei said her wines would range in price from RMB168 to RMB2,000 in China.

Zhao Wei, dubbed the ‘world’s wealthiest working actress’ by Forbes magazine this year and worth more than $1bn, bought Château Monlot, St-Emilion Grand Cru, in Bordeaux in 2011 and has since acquired several others.

Releasing her Bordeaux wines in China means that she joins a celebrity wine club in the country also including former basketball player Yao Ming and film star Carina Lau.

Vicky Zhao Wei, Tmall

Vicky Zhao Wei at a Tmall launch of her Bordeaux wines in China

But, Zhao’s decision to launch wines under the Monlot name at varying prices reflects how China’s wine market is no longer just about the top end.

Mainstream consumers are increasingly a focal point for producers and distributors, rather than government officials.

‘Wine is getting more important in the Chinese lifestyle,’ Zhao told DecanterChina.com. ‘It is great to share wine with friends, it is something I do all the time.’

At the Beijing tasting, Zhao brought along chief winemaker Jean de Cournuaud to offer more detailed explanations of the wines. Cournuaud’s family has been making wine since 1769, before the French Revolution.

Wines on show included Heritage de Monlot, which has 82 percent Merlot and 18 percent Cabernet Franc, and Château Monlot Cuvée Prestige, a blend of 75 percent Merlot and 25 percent Cabernet Franc. Both are made from grapes harvested from vines that are more than 40 years old.

Online retailer Tmall said it was inundated with requests for Zhao’s Monlot wines after launch.

The film star is about to start on her second film as a director. Her first directed film was a box office hit, taking RMB700m in gross sales.

Written by Mark Graham in Beijing with additional reporting and editing by Chris Mercer.

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