Golden Vines applicants – Alexandre Ma

Alexandre Ma

Here is someone who has already achieved glory as a taster in France and an educator in China. He currently lives in Bordeaux with his wife, who helped him make this impressive video.

My name is Xianchen Ma. I am a wine educator and wine journalist working between France and China. I felt excited to apply to the Taylor's Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship since it might be a rare chance to continue my wine dream.

I was born in Ningxia, an emerging wine region in the north-west of China. Following my passion for wine, I came to France to study wine in 2011. I obtained four diplomas during my educational career, including WSET Diploma and a Master’s degree in Wine Marketing & Management. After trying different jobs in almost every field in the wine industry, I finally found out that I should devote the rest of my life to being a wine educator.

I am obsessed with wine tasting. I mainly found a huge interest in blind tasting, which helps me with discovering every style of wine. In 2016, I represented China and we won the La Revue du Vin de France World Blind Tasting Championships – the first time that a non-European country won this championship. This award has broadly strengthened my confidence.

Invited by L V Yang MS, the headmaster of Shanghai Grapea wine school, I have been teaching wine in China since 2017. My courses are among the most demanded because I am good at building a logical knowledge network that is easier for Chinese people to understand. Hence, I was twice awarded Grapea’s best educator of the year. To expand my education activity, I created AMA Education in Bordeaux, where I provided WSET and WSG courses to Chinese-speaking wine lovers in France.

In 2017, with great honour, I joined the RVF team (La Revue du Vin de France) as a wine journalist. I was the youngest and the first Asian wine critic on the tasting committee since 1927. This precious experience helped me broaden my vision and profoundly improve my tasting ability.

I intended to enrol in the MW study programme last year but unfortunately my education activities suffered a lot during the COVID-19 crisis. Even though I still kept sharing wine knowledge by making videos and offering online courses, financial difficulties forced me to postpone this ambitious plan. News of the Diversity Scholarship ignited my hope again.

As an emerging wine-producing country and a dynamic wine market, China is still facing many deficiencies. There is no other country in the world like China where millions of wine consumers, thousands of wineries are waiting to be cultivated. We certainly need more qualified professionals such as Masters of Wine to lead the Chinese wine market’s development and to make improvements. I hope I could be one of them.

The MW study programme requires serious engagement, but I have total faith in myself. As a wine educator, I always believe that teaching is the best way to learn. Teaching allows me to deepen and consolidate my wine knowledge constantly. Besides, journalism work offers plenty of opportunities to visit different wine regions, it is also an excellent method to update my knowledge.

Xianchen (Alexandre) Ma added after Jancis contacted him I met you six times in Europe and China (please trust me, I was not following you!) but it was a huge pity that I didn’t have time to introduce myself. I never thought I could get in touch with you in this unique way, and I was so surprised that you are interested in my experience. There is one thing that I didn’t mention in my application letter because it just happened several days after I sent the application form to the Golden Vines Scholarships. However, it was vital to my wine career, and I would like to share this good news with you if you don’t mind.

I just launched my website three weeks ago. I tried finding a good way to integrate wine education into wine media and provide more helpful knowledge in the form of video, which is a friendly way for consumers of our generation in China. It was a big challenge for me to balance my time and work, but I enjoy it so much, and I will keep working on it my entire life.

I wish my hard work and constant self-improving could help me to be a professional wine critic and excellent wine educator. I hope all of my efforts could help develop the Chinese wine market and let the world of wine hear the voice from Chinese wine critics in the future.