Chinese people usually regard tea as an important symbol of Chinese civilization, while they regard wine as representative of Western civilization. With rapid economic development and the elevation of living standards, Chinese people are not only "resurging"‚ reconstituting tea culture but also learning how to appreciate imported Western wine. Based on ethnographic investigation of tea and wine tasting events in eastern coastal China, this paper aims to explore the accompanying consumption contexts in contemporary China. The tea and wine tasting events themselves have a ritual-like quality. Three aspects are examined to compare and contrast the discourses encapsulated in such tea and wine tasting: the tasting ritual itself, the embedded individual lifestyle aspirations, and the implied sentiments of nationalism. Despite the obviously different symbolic values of tea and wine, this paper argues that ritualized tea and wine tasting events share common social and political discourses in contemporary China, both showing the unresolved paradox between ideals and realities, performances and practices.
|Journal of Chinese Dietary Culture
|Published - 2017