Chinese Whispers

The Chinese love of drinking

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In this episode

Cindy Yu

Throughout Chinese history, as seen by poems and novels, drinking has been seen as a source for literary inspiration; or a form of manly competition; or, as ever, a status symbol. After a century of political turmoil in which the way people lived was radically disrupted, drinking culture is now coming back with China's growing wealth. As well as the traditional rice and sorghum spirits, grape wine is starting to dominate the Chinese palate.

On this episode, my guest Janet Z Wang, author of The Chinese Wine Renaissance, tells me all about the then and the now of Chinese drinking. We chat poetry and wine, noughties extravagance (including a Bordeaux sold for $234,000) and the peculiarities of Chinese drinking culture.