A delegation of 10 Chinese government officials and winery executives will travel to California to attend the first educational seminar sponsored by the Cal-China Wine Culture Exchange (CCWCE), taking place on Friday, June 5, in Sacramento.

The seminar is a collaborative project with the Napa Valley College and the Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau held in conjunction with the Consumer Wine Awards and the Grape Escape Celebration in Sacramento on June 6.

The program is designed to open doors of understanding between China and California, especially for those in the wine industry, education and tourism, said Dr. Joe Chuang, the Napa Valley winemaker who founded the nonprofit CCWCE in 2014.

The forum takes place from 1-5 p.m., and features a series of speakers who will explore the opportunities and challenges for exchanges between California and China, with a focus on wine.

Wayne Batwin, president of the Cal-China Wine Culture Exchange and a former U.S. government official working in Shanghai, said the forum grew out of a need for accurate and up-to-date information on consumer trends in China’s wine market and opportunities for California wineries.

“It symbolizes the importance of the growing relationship between the California and Chinese wine industries,” he said.

Batwin, now a wine industry consultant who frequently travels to China on business, will discuss the Chinese economy and government policies as it affects importing, distribution and selling wine and the current state of the wine industry in China, as well as the challenges facing U.S. businesses.

Also on the agenda is American Master of Wine Tim Hanni, who will discuss marketing opportunities in China. Hanni, who has conducted wine education programs in China for two decades, is the co-author, with journalist Sasha Paulsen, of “The Master’s Secrets to Enjoying Wine in China,” scheduled to be published in Asia in 2016.

Officials from Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Winery Technology program will address the opportunities for educational and technological exchanges between California and China, including the assistance available in California to wineries based in the U.S. and China.

“We are excited about the opportunity to welcome winemaking and viticultural students from China,” said Dr. Ronald Kraft, president of Napa Valley College. “We have already had a great success with students from China who have pursued their winemaking and viticulture education at NVC and have been able to take their knowledge back to China.”

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors’ Bureau will address ways to welcome and accommodate the needs of the growing number of Chinese tourists coming to California.

A reception following the program will present an opportunity to network, and taste wines from both California and China.

The Chinese delegation is from the Huailai Valley, a premium wine grapegrowing region northeast of Beijing in an environmentally protected area of the Hebei Province. Leading the delegations is Zhu Qunde, deputy county governor of the Peoples’ Government of Huailai.

The group also includes Shi Jianmin, vice-chairman of the Peoples’ Political Consultative Committee of Huailai, Tan Jidong, office director of the Peoples’ Government of Huailai, and Zin Ruibao, director of the Huailai County Forestry Department.

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They will be accompanied by six winery executives from Huailai, the region where the French established experimental wineries more than a decade ago. Today, the region is home to a rapidly growing number of Chinese-owned wineries. The vintners will be bringing samples of their wines to pour at the reception.

“Tasting these wines from China will give people an idea of the kinds of wines that the Chinese consumers prefer,” Chuang said.

The visitors from China will travel to the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Lodi following the forum.

“There are tremendous opportunities available in making international connections at this forum,” added Chuang, a Chinese-American businessman, scientist and vintner who has done business in China since the 1970s.

Chuang said the forum has been designed for wineries and other businesses that are doing business in China or who would like to, as well as the media covering the wine industry and its growth in China, and tourism companies who would like to promote wine destinations in both China and the U.S.

Officials from the Chinese consulate in San Francisco have been invited to the seminar, said Chuang, who will discuss the vision behind the CCWCE, a 501c3 nonprofit association, in opening remarks.

The 2015 Cal-China Wine Forum takes place at the Citizen Hotel, 926 J St., Sacramento. The cost to attend the sessions and the following reception is $150 and includes a one-year membership in CCWCE. The cost is $100 for CCWCE members. To register or for information, contact Xinia Gamero, 707-251-3808, or calchina-npo.org.

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