Red Obsession documents China's wine fervor

Updated: 2013-09-06 11:39

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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<EM>Red Obsession</EM> documents China's wine fervor

Napoleon Bonaparte once said: "When the dragon awakes, she will shake the world."

Filmmaker Warwick Ross drew inspiration from that quote for his documentary about China's recent and sudden wine fever, particularly of a French terroir.

The 76-minute Red Obsession first chronicles the history and character of Bordeaux, France, which is widely considered one of the finest wine-producing regions in the world, and then delves into its relationship with China.

Red Obsession opens theatrically today in New York and next week in Los Angeles and other major US cities. It will screen at Cinema Village in New York and Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.

"The idea that Bordeaux was undergoing massive change because it was being impacted by China I found really intriguing," Ross said while explaining the genesis of the documentary. "[Chinese buyers] were driving the prices of [Bordeaux] wines to stratospheric levels where they'd never been before."

Ross, who owns the small Portsea winery on Australia's Mornington Peninsula, said the idea for capturing this new dynamic came from Ross's colleague and friend, Andrew Caillard - a Master of Wine from Australia - during a flight between Sydney and London.

"[The story] was yet another example of how China is impacting everybody in the world right now, no matter where and no matter what," Ross said. "If you're an iron ore producer, China is impacting you. If you're a commodities broker, China is impacting you. And the people of Bordeaux are no different from that. They're getting impacted by the Chinese in a massive way."

The film was written and directed by Ross and David Roach, and narrated by the famous Hollywood actor Russell Crowe. It was an official selection of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York and the 2013 Berlin Film Festival in Germany.

The documentary features interviews with collectors, connoisseurs and winemakers, from both the West and China, to explore the complexities and unpredictability of the global market, as well as the economic effects and influence of suddenly wine-obsessed Chinese collectors.

Ross said Bordeaux's strongest suit is its adaptability. Whenever a rise in power and new area of wealth appears, the region "woos them and seduces them just like a good Frenchman might," whether it is the British, Americans, Russians or whoever.

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