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Trends in China

When reports came out several years ago linking red wine and good health, wine sales soared in China. Western vintners descended on the country to cultivate the trend, and succeeded in replacing Cognac with wine as the drink of choice among fashionable Chinese. But they aren't sipping the stuff for its bouquet or full body—instead, they chug it down mixed with Coke, Sprite, or 7Up. This may be a way of making up for the low standard of local wines (remarkably, grapes are not a required ingredient in Chinese varieties). But now even respected wines are getting Coked. One distributor, quoted in the New York Times, recounted delivering a case of $170-a-bottle Château Lafite-Rothschild to a karaoke bar, then watching in disbelief as patrons diluted it with watermelon slices and Sprite. Sangria, anyone?

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