Gao Zhansheng, Consul General of the People's Republic of China, is again coming to Lodi; this time to hear marketing strategies, dip artisan bread in Lodi olive oils and taste a newly released wine made from Lodi-grown Bing cherries.
The goal: to remind him and other delegates of Lodi's desire to build its relationship with one of the world's fastest-growing economies and largest population.
"The United States has lost almost every manufacturing job there is to overseas markets, but we can earn them all back and then some by providing food to the hungry world," said Frank Gayaldo, an international wine broker based in Lodi.
The private dinner will feature discussions on Lodi cherries and olive oils in the overseas marketplace; a Silicon Valley network announcing that it intends to help Lodi's digital marketing effort; and, naturally, the role wines from Lodi can play in expanding trade.
The host for the evening, The Dancing Fox Winery & Bakery, will unveil its cherry wine at Saturday's event, according to the Lodi Chamber of Commerce. Lodi has been reaching out to China since 2007, and Saturday's event aims to reflect on how far the movement has come while planning its future.
Zhansheng visited Lodi in August 2008 as business leaders and the Lodi Winegrape Commission were first attempting to make in-roads with the massive nation with an emerging middle class.
A highlight of the dinner will come from HYSTA, a Silicon Valley-based organization specializing in connecting Chinese businesses with the domestic market, Gayaldo said.
HYSTA, which stands for the Hua Yuan Science and Technology
Association, will do something this weekend it's never done before, said executive director Christina Hu. The network that typically assists websites and corporations could find itself offering to help market agricultural products, she said.
While Hu couldn't offer specifics on a marketing strategy, the network may help propose in the coming weeks, she said engineers, an accountant and merchants with connections to the Chinese wine business will be in town representing HYSTA on Saturday. The network was approached by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce to attend the session, Hu said.
The private dinner will also feature Mark Plovnick, director of Economic Development for University of the Pacific, exploring the possibility of partnering with universities in China. The Lodi Chamber of Commerce, and the Visit Lodi! Conference & Visitors Bureau on Lodi Winegrape Commission would assist UOP with the effort, said Pat Patrick, president and CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.
The goal is to create an MBA plan and work with a Chinese university to create a marketing plan for Lodi wine and agricultural products in China, Plovnick said.
"The missing leg of the table was academia, and now we are putting that together," Gayaldo said. "When we first started this, the question was, 'Will it be worth it?' We are seeing now that it is worth it — beyond a shadow of a doubt."
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.