It was Destiny which led Monica Zhou and the Consejo Regulador to cross paths fourteen years ago. A stroke of luck, it might be said, which aroused a passion for Sherry in this young Chinese businesswoman, winner of the first prize for the Best Business Initiative in Sherry Week, and without doubt one of the leading ambassadors for Sherry in this Asian country.
In 2004 the Consejo in Jerez contracted Zhou as an interpreter for its first promotional activity in China, quite a headache for someone who knew then nothing about the product, but who would later become the first Sherry Educator in her country.
The prize is awarded in recognition of Zhou’s contribution to popularising and increasing consumption of Sherry in China.
The experience inspired her to embark on a business adventure based on Sherry which, with the name of Shanghai Talentum Trading, now boasts a portfolio of wines from some twenty bodegas in the Sherry region for distribution in China, where she also contributes to the spread of knowledge and appreciation of Sherry by offering courses for sommeliers and hotel and catering professionals.
“Let’s hope we can find more Monica Zhous in the world” declared César Saldaña, director of the Consejo Regulador, during the prize-giving ceremony in which Monica received a diploma accrediting her as the first recipient of this prize established by the Chamber of Commerce and Confederation of Businessmen of Cádiz (CEC) in collaboration with the Consejo Regulador with the intention of, according to the president of the CEC, Javier Sánchez Rojas, “recognising business initiatives which help to promote the wines of Jerez and their consumption around the world”.
What won the prize for Monica Zhou and her husband Zhu Jiang – who was re-christened in Jerez as Paco Guadalquivir as his name translates as Great River – was the organisation, with great public success, of four simultaneous events in four different parts of China, north, east, south and west, featuring the matching of typical dishes from each area with Sherry.
The emotional winner of the first edition of the prize explained that the idea was to partner three typical dishes from each of these regions, which all have very different cuisine, with Sherry. The event turned out to be highly successful and showed that Amontillado best suits Chinese tastes since it was the only wine chosen in the four regions to accompany Peking Duck, hairy river crab, suckling pig and spicy fish.
In Monica Zhou’s estimation Sherry “promises much more” in her country where this young businesswoman will continue to promote wines which “are not as simple as those of Rioja or France since they have a profound culture, like China”.
Along with the diploma, as the president of the CEC and the Chamber of Commerce explained, the organisers will send to Zhou in China a selection of Sherries to the value of 1,000 euros which is the main prize in the competition, the second edition of which they will be organising soon with the Consejo Regulador to allow sufficient time for entries to be registered. The Consejo director took the opportunity to announce that this year’s International Sherry Week might be brought forward to October – until now it has been celebrated in November – in response to suggestions from some countries that it should be set apart a little from European Wine Tourism Day.
19 March 2018