Shanghai, with a population of more than 20 million, is China’s largest city and the hub of that country’s economic development. It has seen rising affluence and growing demand for luxury consumables and upscale lifestyles. Starting this month, the city’s nouveau riche wine lovers have an exclusive new club to belong to.
The Wine Residence is located in a 1906 restored mansion in the city’s glitzy downtown district. It is owned by ASC Fine Wines, China’s leading wine distributor and the world’s largest importer of Château Latour. ASC was started in 1996 by Don St. Pierre, Sr., a former professional American baseball player, who previously had been the president of Beijing Jeep.
ASC has turned into a wine powerhouse in the People’s Republic. Last year, ASC was responsible for fully 30% of premium branded wines brought into China. In an interview, St. Pierre’s son, ASC’s managing partner Don St. Pierre, Jr., said company revenues were growing at 50% annually for the past 5 years.
The Wine Residence will offer its private members an array of privileges: 180 climate-controlled storage lockers to maintain their collections; access to the club’s own selection of 2,000 of the world’s best wines; private rooms for entertainment; a wine museum with a collection of wine-related items from around the world; and even a restaurant with the word “Napa” in its name.
Asked if there was any connection between the restaurant and anything or anyone in Napa Valley, a Wine Residence spokesman, William Patrick Cranley, said, in an email, “There is no direct connection—for Chinese who know wine a little, it is recognizable and easy to pronounce.”
St. Pierre, Sr. said ASC intends to sell “plenty of…super wines” when the Olympic Games come to Beijing this summer.
For membership inquiries concerning The Wine Residence, email Mr. Andy Tan, General Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.