01 | Defining Taste
Emma Gao
Head Winemaker
Ningxia, China

Watch the journey of winemaker Emma Gao and the Lexus LC, made in partnership between Lexus and Vogue.

The Lexus LC is a concept car that many said could not be built. Critics believed the combined performance, handling and elegance of the LC were beyond the capabilities of current technology. Emma Gao, head winemaker for Chinese winery Silver Heights, faced a similar challenge. People thought producing a world-class wine was too ambitious for a Chinese winery. Each one was competing against traditional players who wrote the rules and defined the trends. But, through passion, commitment and expertise, both Gao’s world-class Chinese wine and the Lexus LC became reality.


When the car launched in 2016, the result of years of development, it defied the established boundaries and expectations, leaving the industry speechless. In France, Gao spent years learning the art of winemaking, yet her epiphany moment only came after a friend opened a bottle of 1985 Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. “I was blown away—I had come to France to study oenology, but until that moment I hadn't understood the full potential of wine.” Gao came to appreciate what the designers and engineers of the Lexus LC understood, that creating greatness was an exercise in patience.

She’s considered the best winemaker, with practically the best wine, in all of China. Emma put Ningxia on the map.

GÉRARD COLIN
The New York Times

After completing her studies, Gao returned home and started working for wine merchant Torres China. Meanwhile, on her parents' farm, she began to experiment with making small batches of wine. One day, she presented a bottle to the managing partner of Torres China. Astonished, he immediately proposed that she should make wine full-time and that Torres would distribute it. Today, Silver Heights has received international acclaim for its outstanding wines. “I want my wine to be like the Lexus LC," Gao says. "Unique and surpassing expectations.”

The Lexus LC is a concept car that many said could not be built. Critics believed the combined performance, handling and elegance of the LC were beyond the capabilities of current technology. Emma Gao, head winemaker for Chinese winery Silver Heights, faced a similar challenge. People thought producing a world-class wine was too ambitious for a Chinese winery. Each one was competing against traditional players who wrote the rules and defined the trends. But, through passion, commitment and expertise, both Gao’s world-class Chinese wine and the Lexus LC became reality.

When the car launched in 2016, the result of years of development, it defied the established boundaries and expectations, leaving the industry speechless. In France, Gao spent years learning the art of winemaking, yet her epiphany moment only came after a friend opened a bottle of 1985 Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. “I was blown away—I had come to France to study oenology, but until that moment I hadn't understood the full potential of wine.” Gao came to appreciate what the designers and engineers of the Lexus LC understood, that creating greatness was an exercise in patience.

She’s considered the best winemaker, with practically the best wine, in all of China. Emma put Ningxia on the map.

GÉRARD COLIN
The New York Times

After completing her studies, Gao returned home and started working for wine merchant Torres China. Meanwhile, on her parents' farm, she began to experiment with making small batches of wine. One day, she presented a bottle to the managing partner of Torres China. Astonished, he immediately proposed that she should make wine full-time and that Torres would distribute it. Today, Silver Heights has received international acclaim for its outstanding wines. “I want my wine to be like the Lexus LC," Gao says. "Unique and surpassing expectations.”

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