Saturday, December 10, 2011

See China via Her Wine Growing Regions

I'm constantly asked what China's wine growing regions are like. Follow along on the map while you visit nine regions.

Yunnan province. These two photos are taken near the border with Tibet. The vineyards are generally at elevations up to 10,000 feet. (probably the highest vineyards in the world.) While other wineries–like Yunnan Red–operate at lower elevations near the provincial capital of Kunming, Shangrila winery sources fruit from these remote high-elevation vineyards. Except for the transportation logistics,
in my opinion this is an amazing terroir for the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Shaanxi province. Jade Valley Winery's vineyard seen from the soon-to-be-completed resort, takes on a mystical quality while a heavy-rain storm clears. Just a bit over one hours drive from the famous Xi'an's Terra Cotta Warriors, architect/owner Qingyun Ma's vision is to build this resort and winery in his home town.

Shandong province. China's best known and most developed wine region. The top photograph pictures the landscape around Chateau Junding Winery and Resort in the area known as NAVA Valley–a name that irks California's Napa Valley. The second photo is from the historic hill behind Treaty Port Winery looking out towards the area near where Lafite is planting a vineyard.

Ningxia province. The Yellow River cuts through this upcoming wine region in China's wide-open north central desert region. The top photograph shows one of Pernod Ricard's Domaine Helan Mountain vineyard. The second photo, taken from the winery roof, shows Helan Qing Xue Winery's vineyard–recent winner of Decanter's International Wine award–with Helan Mountain in the background. You can see just how sandy the soil is in the vineyard leased by Dragon Hollow Winery in the bottom images.
To help them survive, vines are buried during the freezing harsh winters.

Xinjiang province. This is China's wild west. Vineyards are planted in the desert in sand dunes as seen in the second photograph background. Irrigation water flows from the huge surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Shanxi province. Probably one of the most scenic vineyard sites sits above Yellow Valley. Grace Winery, pictured in the second photo, sources fruit from these vineyards.

Heibei province. Top photo is Rongchen's vineyard. Center is Bodega Langes and bottom is Great Wall.

Tianjin province. Dynasty Winery sources fruit from this vineyard. Note the other crops planted between rows of vines.

Beijing area. One freeway hour from Beijing, here's the view from Chateau Changyu AFIP.