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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


82: Bordeaux and China: Wine Culture Clash or Perfect Pairing? Suzanne Mustacich Reveals Surprising Insights

Why is Bordeaux considered the ultimate luxury brand in the world of wine? Why did the Chinese market suddenly start buying Bordeaux wines in the 1980s and 90s? Why does Bordeaux in particular suit the ancient Chinese culture of prestigious gift-giving versus other expensive wines? How does the demand for Bordeaux in China affect both the prices you pay and the styles you drink?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Suzanne Mustacich, author of Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines.

  • What fascinated Suzanne about the Chinese wine market?
  • Can you see a similar effect in other industries where China has become a key player?
  • What can you learn about the differences in wine and business culture between China and Bordeaux?
  • What does a bottle of Bordeaux wine go through before it gets to you?
  • Why was Bordeaux perfectly positioned for the young Chinese market?
  • How do top brands like Bordeaux draw you in?
  • Why is wine the perfect product for the aspirational middle class?
  • Which facts about the China-Bordeaux wine economy might surprise you?
  • Why is it much more expensive for you to be a wine aficionado in Hong Kong than elsewhere?
  • Was there a connection between the US recession and increased interest in the Chinese market from Bordeaux?
  • How have US buying habits changed in relation to high-end Bordeaux wines?
  • How do Government changes impact on the demand for wine in China?
  • What changes can you see in the current Chinese wine consumption patterns compared to when Bordeaux was initially
  • introduced?
  • What is the taboo around women and wine in China?
  • How did Suzanne's end up meeting with particularly interesting characters while researching Thirsty Dragon?
About Suzanne Mustacich

Suzanne Mustacich is an author, speaker, journalist, editor and consultant. She is a contributing editor at Wine Spectator magazine and the author of Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines. She has a background as a television producer and screenwriter. She recently finished her first novel.

As a print journalist, she has previously reported for Agence France Presse, Wine Life (China), and Wine Business International. She holds a BA from Yale University in Economics and Political Science, the DUAD enology diploma from the University of Bordeaux and an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Bordeaux with her family.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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