Food Development News, China, August 2012 | Boutique Wines Asia Interview
Bringing Boutique Wines from the World to Chinese Consumers Recently, the wine trade company BWA organized a Media Event in one of the top restaurants in Shanghai – MINT – where more than twenty media got together, tasting boutique wines from all around the world. The reporters interviewed Mr. Gao Mingzhuang (João Gago), Chief Executive of Boutique Wines Asia. Gao Mingzhuang refered that BWA was born from a one-of-a-kind dream to bring Premium Boutique Wines to Asia. “We carefully selected boutique wines from all over the world, from family owned wineries, each one being representative of their wine region. BWA is a pioneer brand with a family wineries vision, reflecting the company's philosophy with a top-level management mode, high product quality and operational knowledge, through the sharing of world's top wine treasures in Asia. Our main goal and focus is to efficiently bring the best wine products of the far Eastern markets, with a positive attitude and unique vision. BWA is not only a wine business, is also a way of living, through our selection of boutique wines and boutique lifestyles from all around the world”. About the start-up of the Company, Gao Mingzhuang refered to it as broadly balanced: "the starting of BWA until now is being a fantastic experience, and the results are positive. We are satisfied with the company's initial success, but most important is that the public get to know the message we want to convey – that BwA is more than wine, a way of living”. In the first 12 to 18 months, BwA was clearly focused on the TOP Venues that could showcase in the more professional way the best of what Boutique Wines have to offer, not only through its presence in the most popular five star hotels and most famous restaurants, but also through education in Wine Schools. “After a successful start in Shanghai through 2011, our Boutique Wines are now being delivered in several other Chinese provinces. We are expanding to other Chinese cities around the country, where consumers are showing themselves to be eager to go away from mainstream commercial wines. And we are more and more curious to learn about historical family-owned boutique wines, and as well as the lifestyle and the way of living
in its boutique wineries. Naturally, this is a process that takes a certain time to be developed and we are making sure that we give small but sold steps in our growth”.
From the start-up of the company, with a selected range of products, the portfolio expanded now to a selection of wines from ten countries from all around the World. Gao Mingzhuang said: “This decision was based on the principle that we have in BwA: we believe that there are fantastic quality wines to discover in a multitude of regions around the world. Most of them are produced by small family owned boutique wineries, which are run by passionate local people that respect their natural resources, preserve the historical traditions and present the best of what its terroir has to offer. All with knowledge that passed from generation to generation, and that we want to share them with the Chinese people. Why!? Surely because these producers are the heart of the wine. They are what makes the wine so mysterious, so intriguing, so passionate. We are working to bring a few more special boutique wines from known wine producing areas and especially from unusual or often unheard quality wine regions.” In Gao Mingzhuang’s view, the selection of wines from BwA have to comply with some standards for the Asian market. "First, the wineries should be family owned and most of the times I end up passing a few days in the winery to understand their way of living, where they live, their habits, their daily work, the vineyards, the vinification, the wine. And as important as the reasons mentioned before, their social life, how do they cope such hard work with family & friends’ activities… and these are what’s all about: their lifestyle, their way of living. Second, naturally the quality and the uniqueness of the wines, which must be a fine example of its region and of
its terroir. Third, making sure that at least the majority of the wines can be well paired with a big portion of the dishes of the Asian & Chinese cuisine, or drunk by itself”. Besides these, BWA has recently expanded to Chengdu, in Western China. "We just opened an office in Chengdu in 2012 to help us managing the education and the distribution in West China. We had some important requests and orders in Shanghai office last year and, due to the long distances, we were not being able to provide the high quality service and support we wanted to offer to all our customers. In order to overcome this challenge, we could not do it from the Shanghai headquarters. We needed to be closer to our customers, in order to understand them better, understand their needs, their challenges and present a programme of education that can help them to learn faster and choose what they think is the best offer for their own taste & needs.” About the expectations for the coming year, Gao Mingzhuang hopes to continue promoting this wonderful way of living to the Chinese people, leading more and more curious people to enjoy this exquisite lifestyle. "I hope that BWA’s concept of boutique wines and lifestyle can be extended to 10 Chinese provinces in 2013, and reach 20 provinces in 2014”. Gao Mingzhuang finally said, "I hope that one day my own wine can be listed in BWA’s portfolio. One day I will have my own boutique winery and my own boutique way of leaving next to the vineyards. I have this image in my mind: my family including my parents, my brothers, my future wife and a lot of kids playing around while I have a sip of a truly tasty boutique traditional wine looking to all that beautiful countryside family sightseeing”.
Gao Mingzhuang - João Gago - Interview, Managing Director of BwA Food Development News Magazine, August 2012 China