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September 5, 2010

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Spain's top wine writer hails market

SPAIN'S best-known wine critic, Jose Penin, has been sipping, studying and writing about wines for 35 years. He is considered the first Spanish journalist to popularize wine.

He was honored in 2007 with a Special Award of the Jury in the Gourmand Book awards for world's best wine writer. As an influential international connoissuer and businessman, Penin was recently in Shanghai with his new book Penin Guide 2010 in English and Spanish versions, a definitive and most up-to-date book about Spanish wines with more than 13,000 brands reviewed.

Q: What's your view of the Shanghai wine market?

A: It's commonly known that all European countries have a long history of wines. Shanghai's biggest advantage is that it is a famous, opening city with the latest information and modern presence. People here are willing to try different things. They can systematically learn and understand everything about wine without any conventional and traditional preconceptions.

Q: Is wine a new investment field?

A: Some people say so, but I believe wine investment and wine popularization are totally different. Wine investment is used by European wineries to raise their reputation. If people want to find wines worth investing in, they should go to wine auctions. Wineries usually make some wines especially for auction to raise their profile in the wine industry.

Q: What are your recommendations for people who like wine?

A: Wine is a fantastic creature.

I think appropriately drinking wine can make life more exciting; on the other hand, irrational drinking can cause huge trouble. I strongly recommend people focus on the quality of wine, instead of the quantity. Although excessive alcohol consumption has adverse health effects, epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of alcohol and wine is statistically associated with a decrease in death due to cardiovascular events such as heart failure. Also, wine is better for females, and according to the statistic there are twice as many women working in the wine industry as men. And women usually have a better sense of wine. So I think wine will make life better.

Q: What are your interests apart from wine?

A: I love music and my son now is working as a DJ in Tokyo. When I was young I always wanted to be a musician, and now my son helps me fulfill my dream. If I keep on directing, I may become a famous movie investor.


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