Verdelho just what the editor ordered

Bob GarnantCountryman

Poh Tiong Ch'ng is WA's newest ambassador for China's lucrative wine market.

The editor of The Wine Review, South East Asia's oldest wine magazine, had a busy visit to WA that included judging the 2011 IGA Perth Royal Show wine show and touring the State's viticulture regions.

At Houghton winery, in Middle Swan, he was delighted to taste the wines of the Swan Valley and neighbouring Chittering Valley.

These wine-growing areas are known for their exceptional whites, according to Royal Agricultural Society wine show chief judge John Hanley.

"The original white varieties of the Swan Valley go back to colonial times," Mr Hanley said.

Mr Ch'ng said the Verdelho variety may have been overlooked as a potential export product.

"V is for victory," Mr Ch'ng said after the tasting. "It would go well with dim sim or tempura."

Mr Ch'ng also spoke to a group of Swan Valley winemakers about reversing the current sluggishness of the industry. "In particular, it is important that winemakers continue to concentrate on quality," he said.

Mr Ch'ng said it would be foolish for a winery to create a wine just for the Chinese market.

"They would question the authenticity of the brand," he said.

Mr Ch'ng added that products that are being marketed in China must have meaning and be understood.

"Chinese people are very romantic and traditional," he said. "Using symbols of virtue like an orchid flower or prosperous numbers such as 28 will connect the product to Chinese culture."

Houghton winemaker Courtney Treacher said the winery's Verdelho, with its fresh and tropical spectrum of flavours, would be a good accompaniment to Asian food.

"Many of WA's wines are suitable for the emerging market in China," Ms Treacher said.

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