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Wine expert from Oz visits Shanghai

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)

10:05, January 29, 2012

"The best way to learn about wine is to taste the very best wine you can with someone who can explain it to you," says Jeremy Oliver.

Luckily, the seven guests at an exclusive wine dinner in Shanghai were in a room with some very good wines - and "someone" who could explain them: Oliver.

The leading Australian wine writer, Oliver was the first host of the Single Bottle Club Dinner in the private room of Char, the restaurant on the top of Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund. The idea behind these gatherings: Guests can book the private room, bring their own bottles from their cellars, share the wine with friends and ask for comment from a wine critic or a winery owner.

Oliver began writing about wine in 1984 with his first book, Thirst for Knowledge. He has since published 14 books, plus hundreds of articles all over the world. Today he hosts many leading wine events in Australia and also works as an ambassador for Australian wines in export markets.

His website ( says he "is also in the process of developing some world-leading wine software for consumers".

Ethan Tian, the Shanghai hotel's food and beverage director, said that he wanted to make the dinners casual yet informative, perhaps as often as monthly.

"Good wines are expensive. Maybe you can only afford a few. But here, you can taste around 10 bottles of good wines at a time. In addition, it's a good opportunity to know new friends who are also wine lovers," said Tian, who is also the hotel's head sommelier.

Each time, a maximum of 10 guests will be invited so that the dinner is private and that they can have enough time to talk with each other.

Since many in the hotel's management have Australian backgrounds, the theme of the first dinner was Australian wines. So Tian invited his friend Oliver, who was on a trip in China to promote his new book, to be the first host of the private dinner.

The guests, who were experienced wine lovers or working in the wine trade. Among the wines they brought: Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling 2009, Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2007, Craneford No 1 Shiraz 2007 and Yarra Yering Carrodus Cabernet Merlot 2008.

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