Larry McKenna


Chengdu Wine & Food Fair

Panda Experience


The week prior to vintage, while the boys did all the preparation, I snuck in a quick trip to China for the Chengdu Wine Spirits and Food Fair. In its 94th year and the biggest event of its type in China, with around 100,000 attendees a day over 3 days, it’s truly an awe inspiring experience. Home of the Panda it’s a vibrant modern city with well-established tourism and a local population of 14 million!

Chengdu City

Chengdu City – Panda capital of the world

Mei Fang and her team of Sunny, Nucky, Nancy and Tom did a great job of presenting our brands at two events.

The trade show ran for 3 days then the main public event immediately followed that. NZ Trade and Enterprise hosted our stand under the very capable direction of Jerry Hong, Nathalie Potts and Vanessa Wo. Many thanks NZTE for your efforts and expert local knowledge.

Escarpment Wine Fair

Action at the Fair. Sunny Tom and Nucky looking after our wines

Escarpment Easter

Bit of Easter Kiwiana on show

NZTE presented a NZ cultural night where the 10 wineries involved all poured their wines accompanied with NZ finger food for guests of NZTE domiciled in Chengdu. Kapa Haka performances and NZ paraphernalia all made for an entertaining evening.

NZ Welcome - Day 1 Chengdu Wine & Food Fair

NZ Welcome – Day 1 Chengdu Wine & Food Fair

I enjoyed some sort of weird “rock star” status with my main role being photographed especially when English wasn’t spoken.

We are enjoying very significant export growth in the market with particularly thanks to Mei and her husband Paul.

Mei & Paul

Mei & Paul our Escarpment Chinese importers distributors

Based in Shanghai they have fallen in love with NZ and purchased a house and vineyard in Martinborough, after being educated in Auckland a number of years ago.

It wasn’t all work. On Good Friday Mei took us to a museum of 1,000 to 1,100 year old stone statues of Buddha, mostly from the Tang dynasty.


Good Friday. Buddas everywhere

It was a real eye opener and an especially thought provoking experience for a “down under white boy” particularly during Easter. That evening while enjoying the city I was intrigued by a Chinese guy preparing duck meat for his restaurant. I was surprised when his reply to me came back in a very Australasian Chinese accent. Joe spent years working under Simon Wright at the French Cafe in Auckland.

Joe French Cafe

Joe previously from The French Cafe Auckland. Was very welcoming of some unexpected NZers.

He was thrilled to talk to somebody from NZ and made us very welcome in Chengdu. Small world! His main restaurant is Le Champagne in Shanghai. It’s sure to be on the “hit list” next time we visit. Hopefully anyway.

All in all a very quick, but rewarding trip which is helping us to establish our NZ wine in China.

Larry McKenna


Final dinner with Mei Nancy Zoe and friends Chicken in a cage!

Final dinner with Mei Nancy Zoe
and friends Chicken in a cage!


Comments are closed.