After a month of visiting all of China's major wine growing regions, this single photo sums up my findings.
The premium Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the photo foreground is in the wild wild west province of Xinjian, China's most remote region. Sitting way out in the far west bordering Mongolia and a list of stans including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, most of the province is wide open Taklimakan Desert where the most dangerous portion of the Silk Road winds through the world's largest shifting dunes moon-like landscape. Remote. The capital of the province is the world's furthest city from any ocean.
But, because of the warm summers and well-drained soil, it's a great grape growing region. This vineyard belongs to Citic Guoan Winery (formerly Suntime), which also owns Asia's–if not the world's–largest vineyard spreading out on Xinjian's sandy soil. The area is booming. A couple hundred kilometers from this vineyard near Fukang, sits an oil reserve that is suppose to be larger than anything in the United States. Dozens of Nuclear power plants dot the region like acne on a teenager. Yet in the distance tower incredible snow-capped mountains.
This is the China I experienced in September and October. Things are booming, including the wine industry. More adventures and observations to come.