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Tiffany Feng

Professor Crosby

Eng Comp 3

25 Febuary 2018

Rhetorical Analysis of “Fine Wine and Caviar – Made in China”

In the past decades in American society, when people need to look for long-lasting or

quality products, they often avoid purchasing Chinese-made items. This mindset comes from the

made-in-China stigma, in which Chinese manufactured goods are deemed low quality, cheap, and

even potentially dangerous. This such stigma extends to the food industry. For years, even the food Commented [TF1]: Adding this sentence helps to
smoothly transition the topic to food. It draws a connection
and applies what was mentioned before to what will be
industry of the country had been marred by scandals ranging from toxic baby formula to diseased

poultry. But, as China continues to evolve and grow as an economic superpower, its growing

middle class with disposable income is demanding quality goods (Zheng and Wang 30). This Commented [TF2]: The outside source helps to provide
more cultural and social context to the topic of the essay.
The source adds contextual information that the article did
middle class is more accepting of the higher price tag that follows. Consequently, Chinese goods
not include.

are improving quickly. In the article “Fine Wine and Caviar – Made in China”, Tony Perrottet

mentions numerous awards won by Chinese-made Western foods, highlights the improvement in

quality of these foods, explains the history of grape wine in China, and includes positive relatable

personal experiences to convey that Chinese-made Western goods can be of high quality and Commented [TF3]: Originally, this sentence did not have
the topics ordered this way. But I later changed it so that it
matched the order it was brought up in the body
should not be ignored solely because of the made-in-China stigma. Through this message and the
paragraphs of the essay.

way it is conveyed, Perrottet attempts to persuade the audience to give these Chinese-made western

foods a chance, despite the bias against Chinese products.

Chinese-made Western foods can be of high quality and should not be ignored solely

because of the made-in-China stigma. These foods include Chinese-made boutique wine, artisanal

cheeses, and quality caviar. This message is fitting as in past decades, Chinese-made products have
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been labelled as poor quality, unreliable, and potentially even toxic. In his article, Perrottet writes

about how such a stigma developed for Chinese food products. He explains that in China in 2008,

“baby formula tainted with toxic melamine killed six infants and sickened 300,000 more” (12).

Other scandals that were described include a bird flu scare and a crime ring that was found to be

“passing off rat and mink meat as lamb” (12). Despite such alarming scandals, in recent years some Commented [TF4]: This section was missing in the initial
drafts. I was afraid that describing scandals pertaining to
other foods in detail would be distracting from the main
made-in-China products of high quality are starting to gain recognition and are helping to rid the
topic at hand. It seems almost counterintuitive to talk about
scandals when trying to convince people to try something.
stigma. Some of these products are Chinese grape wine, caviar, and artisanal cheese. Such goods However, writing about them actually allowed for a great
way to provide background history and explain how stigma
against Chinese goods developed.
have not been involved in scandals, but consumers are nonetheless hesitant to try them because of

the tarnished reputation of all Chinese produce. Wine, caviar, and cheese also do not have historical

roots in China but originate from Europe, which causes potential buyers to be even more dubious

of the Chinese versions. In fact, the author himself recognizes that grape wine “seems culturally

far removed” (Perrottet 4) from China. However, Perrottet argues that despite this fact, Chinese Commented [TF5]: This analysis was not present in the
first draft. I felt that adding the author’s own initial doubts
was an important part of him relating to the audience in an
wine, caviar, and cheese should be given a chance because their high quality is undeniable. The
effort to persuade them.

author’s argument that readers should give these products a try is evident when he continuously

highlights the awards grape wine has won, the way the goods have improved through time, and

how much he himself enjoyed them after overcoming his own initial hesitance.

The rhetor conveys his message through mentioning numerous awards won by Chinese-

made Western foods. Within the article, Perrottet delves into detail the accolades of Chinese wine.

For example, he writes, “In 2011, the Cabernet blend Jia Bei Lan, from the Helan Quingxue

vineyard, became the first Chinese wine to take the prestigious international trophy at the Decanter

World Wine Awards” (3). Chinese wine again wins awards in 2011 when “four Chinese reds, led Commented [TF6]: Originally, this quote did not have
much context around it. While editing my initial drafts, I
caught this error and added more background and an
by Grace’s Chairman’s Reserve, beat French Bordeaux in a blind taste test in Beijing with
introduction to the topic of the quote.

international judges” (3). The author’s choice to point out that it beat French Bordeaux is
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noteworthy, as such an accomplishment for a Chinese wine comes as quite a shock to many.

Chinese wine had beat wine from France, a country whose grape wine is highly praised and where

grape wine has centuries of history. The fact that the taste test was “blind” is another crucial detail

that the author includes to further his argument for the quality of Chinese wine. Since the test was Commented [TF7]: This analysis of the “blind” aspect of
the taste test was missing from the first draft. After another
read of the article, I felt that this point deserved its own
“blind”, the testers will not be as susceptible to their existing biases and will be more likely to be
section for analysis of its important to the status of the
Chinese-made wine.
truthful in answering which wine has a more palatable taste. He also points out that these awards

are the first, and hints that many more are to come as Chinese wine quality is on the rise.

Perrottet also conveys his message by highlighting the improvement in quality of these

foods and explaining the history of grape wine in China. A reason for the recent rise in wine quality Commented [TF8]: In the first draft, this “how”
paragraph was combined with the other “how” paragraphs,
resulting in a very large body paragraph that spanned many
is the increasing Chinese interest in the beverage (Shi et al. 552). With a growing middle class
pages. I ended up splitting it into three separate body
paragraphs. If I had not done so, the block of text would be
(Perrottet 9; Zheng and Wang 30) that has the means and desire to purchase higher quality yet difficult to navigate and frustrating to read. Splitting the
paragraph helps with the organization.
higher priced items (Shi et al. 555), producers are catching on. Producers can create quality goods

that cost more to make because consumers are willing to pay more money. The growing middle

class also tends to have more of a desire to purchase foods deemed “high class”, which includes

wine (Jenster and Cheng 246) as well as cheese and caviar, which are also mentioned in the article.

In the case of grape wine, to compete with international competitors, Chinese grape wine producers

work quickly to develop quality vineyards and techniques for grape wine production in order to

catch up (Jenster and Cheng 257). In the article, author Tony Perrottet explores the Chinese

industries of Western foods and their history in the China. He explores in detail the origins of

Chinese grape wine in the paragraph, “In fact, grape wine was first grown commercially in China

in 1892, . . . often using grapes imported from Argentina and South Africa” (5). In the paragraph,

Perrottet details the industry’s impressive beginnings from 1892 to the 1930s, as well as the

industry’s decline with the rise of Communism. But he mentions that as the country adopts
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capitalist policies in recent decades, the wine industry is starting back up. Initial results were

unimpressive, but the Perrottet does point out how Chinese wine from the last five or so years is

much better quality than just a decade ago. By detailing the once glorious past of Chinese grape

wine, the author sets the stage for persuading his readers to try the new Chinese-made wine. By

explaining that China in fact does have over one hundred years of history with grape wine, the

recent success of Chinese wine does not come as such a shock. The author quotes Beijing-based

wine blogger Jim Boyce, whom the author describes as having eight years of experience with the Commented [TF9]: Here I expanded on why Jim Boyce’s
words hold importance in the article. I did not do so initially
and added it later. By expanding on Boyce’s experience, his
Chinese wine industry, as saying, “A few years ago, Chinese wine was terrible. Now it’s not. But
words hold more weight and helps to further both
Perrottet’s and my argument.
the industry is still in its infancy” (7). Through evoking ethos and highlighting Jim Boyce’s

credentials, his words hold more credence and causes readers to be more likely to believe what he

is saying, further providing support for Perrottet’s argument.

Another method the rhetor employs to convey his message is by including positive relatable

personal experiences with the Chinese goods. Perrottet writes about the improvement in the

Chinese grape wine industry in recent years through his personal experiences. He explains, “Like

many uninformed outsiders, when I was first offered a glass of Chinese grape wine in Shanghai’s

spectacular restaurant M on the Bund, I thought it was a practical joke” (5). He continues, “The

idea tends to provoke remarks about toxic side effects—losing taste buds, for example, or even the

sight in one eye” (5). This thought is a result of the made-in-China stigma. Perrottet’s inclusion of

his initial fears of losing body parts helps to evoke pathos with how frightening they sound, as well

as relating to doubters. But, after he tries the glass of wine, Perrottet’s fear is assuaged and he is Commented [TF10]: This sentence was a later addition.
Without it, the essay seemed choppy and lacked details.
Adding this sentence strengthens the argument and
pleasantly surprised. He describes his first sip as “crisp and bright, with subtle nectarine flavors”
elaborates on how Perrottet’s personal anecdotes were
(5). Like many, the author was a nonbeliever of Chinese wine and initially laughed at the thought.

But after giving it a try, he finds that he enjoyed it. Through writing about himself as similar to
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“many uninformed outsiders”, he is once again trying to identify himself with the audience and to

explain that the made-in-China stigma is incorrect. Perrottet holds the same view for Chinese

caviar as well. He writes about how “the majority is exported to the United States, Europe, Japan

and even Russia, and it’s served in first-class air cabins and sold under the esteemed Petrossian

label. But it still struggles to overcome the made-in-China stigma” (13). The author explains how

it is high quality enough to be served in numerous countries in prestigious places under an

“esteemed” label, yet the stigma follows it still. This caviar is of high quality but is often not given

the chance or time of day simply because it is a product of China. By listing all the prestigious

places the Chinese caviar is found, then pointing out how it still experiences prejudice from the

made-in-China stigma makes the reader think about how such a stereotype is inaccurate. By using Commented [TF11]: This was originally “stigma.”
Changing “stigma” to “stereotype” in this instance helped to
make the essay sound less repetitive but also keep the same
logos and providing facts about the caviar, it helps to effectively persuade the audience to give the
slightly negative connotation that “stigma” holds.

products a try even though there is a prevalent stigma surrounding them.

Perrottet attempts to persuade the audience to give these Chinese-made western foods a

chance, despite the bias against Chinese products. He mentions that getting people to try the

products is “the main hurdle” (4), hinting that he is confident the quality of the products can

speak for themselves after people give them a try. Since the article is published in the Wall Street Commented [TF12]: Adding this sentence in later drafts
helped to expand on ideas introduced in the thesis. It
supports that the reason Perrottet wrote the article was to
Journal, educated, middle to upper class, slightly older American adults are most likely to pick
convince people to try the Chinese-made Western goods by
providing a direct quote as support.
up this text. The first possible audience is the educated, middle-class to upper-class adult

American who is familiar with wine, artisanal cheese, and caviar, but is not familiar with the

Chinese side of the industries. The author attempts to teach and inform these people about

Chinese-made European foods while simultaneously convincing readers to try the goods. He

writes in detail about the history of vineyards in the country in a lengthy paragraph on page 5. He

does not provide the same amount of detail when describing European and American wine,
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hinting that he expects the audience to be somewhat familiar with the topic. For example, he

writes about “French Bordeaux” (3) and “Cabernet Sauvignon” (10) with little explanation,

expecting readers are knowledgeable enough about wine to know what they are. The second

possible audience are middle-class and upper-class American adults with an interest in wine,

cheese, and caviar, but are doubters of Chinese-made versions. The author is trying to convince

doubters to give these Chinese foods a chance. For instance, when writing about the cheeses, he

writes the names of cheeses “Camembert and Saint Marcellin” (4) and compares them in terms

of consistency to Chinese-made cheeses “Beijing Blue and Beijing Gray” (4). To readers with no

interest in cheese, these names will mean little. He compares Chinese versions with trusted and

familiar French cheeses to give credibility to Chinese cheese to convince doubters of its quality.

Perrottet relates to the skeptics when he recounts that he too “thought it was a practical joke”

when he was served Chinese grape wine in a respected establishment. But after trying it, he was

pleasantly surprised. The use of relatable stories works to persuade as well. The author brings up

the fact that Chinese versions have won several awards and are improving through time in his

attempt to entice his readers to try them. Perrottet promotes Chinese caviar too. He explains that

much of it is sold under the “esteemed Petrossian label” (13). Those without knowledge about

caviar would not know this Petrossian label. The most important purpose of the text is to inform

and educate the audience about quality Chinese-made produce, despite the made-in-china stigma.

He accomplishes this as he strongly supports his argument with the use of facts, quotes from

credible people, personal experience, and history. He explains the scandals and shows why

people do doubt Chinese goods, but he effectively isolates Chinese-made western goods from the Commented [TF13]: I added this section to tie the essay
together. Here I analyze whether Perrottet was successful in
scandals. Perrottet is successful in providing the information his audience needs to conclude that delivering his message and doing what he was aiming to do.
It provides a good summary to the essay and brings back
ideas from the very beginning. It allows the readers
themselves to evaluate whether they feel Perrottet was
effective in delivering his message and accomplishing his
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there are quality and delicious Chinese-made wine, caviar, and cheese to be found. One just

needs to take the leap of faith to try them.

In the article “Fine Wine and Caviar – Made in China”, Tony Perrottet through his

personal experience with and his explanation of the history, improvement, accolades of Chinese-

made grape wine, caviar, and artisanal cheese, attempts to show that such products can be of

high quality and should be up for consideration and not ignored because of the stigma of

products from China. Through this message and the how it’s conveyed, Perrottet seemingly

attempts to persuade the audience to give these foods a try, even if there is a stigma. Commented [TF14]: The conclusion was added as a
summary of the thesis. Although some argue conclusions
are not necessary, it helps to bring the essay together and
restates ideas that were discussed in the essay.
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Works Cited

Jenster, P., & Cheng, Y. (2008). Dragon wine: Developments in the chinese wine industry.

International Journal of Wine Business Research, 20(3), 244-259.

Perrottet, Tony. “Fine Wine and Caviar-Made in China?” The Wall Street Journal, 3 Dec. 2014,

Shi, Y., Cheng, C., Lei, P., Wen, T., & Merrifield, C. (2011). Safe food, green food, good food:

Chinese community supported agriculture and the rising middle class. International

Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 9(4), 551-558. Retrieved from

Zheng, Qiujie, and H. Holly Wang. “Market Power in the Chinese Wine Industry.” Agribusiness,

vol. 33, no. 1, 2017, pp. 30–42., doi:10.1002/agr.21479. Accessed 4 Feb. 2018.