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Tuscany embraces Confucius

What does Italian wine have in common with Confucius? “Balance” says Giovanni Geddes, the chief executive of Tenuta Dell ‘Ornellaia, a luxury Tuscan winemaker.

According to WineSino, a website, Geddes decided that Ornellaia’s 2009 Vendemmia d’Artista vintage was so balanced that it prompted direct association with the Chinese sage. Ornellaia is opting to put Confucius’ portrait on the label, with Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Huan chosen for the design.

Vendemmia d’Artista is a limited edition bottling that is produced annually by Ornellaia. It comprises only 100 standard bottles, 10 single-litre bottles and a Salmanazar (9 litre). But when the wine is auctioned in Hong Kong in April, Geddes hopes to raise as much as $800,000 for charity. Of course, Ornellaia’s other hope is for a raised profile in China – a market where even the best Italian wine is far less well-known than French favourites such as Lafite.

But Geddes evidently feels that China is the future: he’s even installed a metal statue of Confucius in the winery’s courtyard.


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