Wine(ing) in China

We have spoken whoops, written before about wine in China. The yellow wine (which is really more gasoline coloured , and flavoured, than yellow) is not at all to our liking and baiju – well, enough said about the 53% stuff. Initially, we discovered that Walmart, although they do sell wine, is almost exclusively Great Wall wine. Truly, they should just build a great wall around the winery and keep it inside. There is also Chengdu wine but never having sampled it, I will not comment. Auchon and RT Mart, two other grocery stores, have a limited supply of decent wines but it is heavy to carry all that white wine home on a daily basis.  (Ed. note: having said that, Tim introduced me to Shearer’s Shed, a rather pleasant and perky little Shiraz from Australia for only 80 yuan.)

We then moved on to ASC which is a very large corporation which delivered wine all the way to Jiaxing from Shanghai. They put the cases on the bus and then they were picked up locally and delivered. Unfortunately, the delivery person only spoke Chinese when he phoned to tell me he couldn’t find our apartment and I had no idea what he was saying. We never missed a delivery, but it was always interesting trying to make connections. Additionally, they only would take orders online via a PC and not a Mac (What??) so I always had to order from Terry’s computer at school. Quite inconvenient.

Next we moved on to Freeman. We discovered him at a “Farmer’s Market” outside the Ritz Carlton Hotel. He and his wife Susan were running the business and doing fairly well. He delivered all the way out here as well, but charged 100 yuan ($16.00). However, at times it was difficult to get in touch with him – didn’t answer email, phone or text. This was usually when we were desperate for white wine and would cause us great consternation.

For a year and a half this is how our wine was delivered - except the cases were taped shut. it didn't matter if it came on the bus and commercially delivered or personally by Susan or Freeman. Just a couple of boxes.

For a year and a half this is how our wine was delivered – except the cases were taped shut. It didn’t matter if it came on the bus and was commercially delivered or personally delivered by Susan or Freeman. Just a couple of boxes.

And so we come to our latest supplier – Roque Fine Wines aka Rob and Shelley from Vancouver. Shelley and I met through our pal Ken. Rob and Shelley and their two young sons moved to Shanghai last August to start up a wine import business and finally last month got all the paper work done and started doing business. Since we are almost out of white again, we thought it was time to support our expat friends and ordered two cases (Ed. note: 1 of each colour) to be delivered today. Shelley informed me on Tuesday that she would let me know whether the delivery would be am or pm so that I wouldn’t have to sit around home all day waiting.

Now for the last year and a half whenever we were having something delivered from Shanghai, be it wine or anything else, it has never been earlier than 2:00 so I figured I could go off to Starbucks for coffee at 8:15 and have lots of time. At 9:05 I get a text from our neighbour Tina that a courier has delivered a package and it is in her apartment. I ask if it two cases of wine. Yes it is and I can get it later when I come home. Great, now I can relax, enjoy a second cup of coffee and read my book.

At 11:00 I get a phone call and hand the phone to one of my barista ladies to answer. It is a delivery service saying that they will be delivering one case of wine to my house later today and I need to be home and be by my phone. “What?” I think – Tina told me there were two cases there all ready. What is going on? So I leave my coffee and hoof it back home.

When I get home, I knock on Tina’s door and when the door is opened this is what I see.

What the hell is this? It takes Tina's father-in-law and I to lift and carry it!

What the h%^@? It takes Tina’s father-in-law and I to lift and carry it!

Now, I know that Roque Fine Wines is new to China, but really all this – for two cases of wine – there is enough lumber and bubble wrap here to build a Chinese house, for God’s sake. I know security is important, but come on. Anyway, let me move on.

We live in an apartment – I don’t whoops, didn’t ever need a lot of tools. I have a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, some twist ties, a little electric drill and kitchen knives. None of these were able to get this open. Suddenly I recall that in a cupboard on the balcony the owners had left a hammer. Ah Ha!

I get the hammer and think okay – no problem just knock the slats on the “back side” (top as you look at it) off and voila – access to the container. Oh no – the wood simply shatters. After about fifteen minutes, I get one slat off and am able to work one case out. I then try to slide the other one over but there is too much bubble wrap above and below it to allow that to work easily and I continue to issue words of frustration. You who know how I perspire can only imagine how I was. I can’t see what I am doing without my glasses – but they are covered in perspiration and I am constantly taking them off, wiping them and me off and putting them back on only to repeat in another 15 seconds. Oh yes, the air was somewhat blue.

Finally I get the second case out and this is what I am left with.

And this doesn't show the chunks and splinters which went flying all over the living room.

And this doesn’t show the chunks and splinters which went flying all over the living room. If you look closely at the slat that is broken off you will see 5 nails sticking up. I kept waiting to step on them or put my hand on one. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

Really, should it be that hard to open a case of wine?

Really, should it be that hard to open a case of wine? I was drenched in sweat, but, unfortunately, my selfie doesn’t show it.

Was it all worth it? Only time will tell – but Shelley let’s talk about an alternate form of wrapping next time. Cheers.

We have rolled out the red...uh... table runner to welcome our new friends.

We have rolled out the red…uh…table runner to welcome our new friends.

The Shoe Blog

As I mentioned, shoe shots are tough right now – most everyone is just in stiletto-heeled knee/thigh high black boots – yawn yawn, so here is a photo of about half of the scarves (there are 28 here) Terry has bought since we got here.

These are the light weight ones - the heavier ones are folded and in a drawer...

These are the light weight ones – the heavier ones are folded and in a drawer…

3 thoughts on “Wine(ing) in China

  1. csorem

    I wish we would have found your blog before we tried the Great Wall wine. That was a mistake. Katie and I are from Texas and just moved here to teach English. We were wondering if you could recommend any good ways to get plugged into city life here?


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