|We drove our four-wheel drive Toyota over the LanCang (also called Lantsang, Lansang and Mekong) River, to our destination, Cizhong village in Yunnan Province, China.|
|Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in front of historic Catholic Church, first built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1909, in Cizhong village on LanCang River, Yunnan Province, China.|
French missionaries planted wine grapes—including rare Honey Rose or Rose Honey vines—in remote Cizhong village in Yunnan Province more than 100 years ago. They wanted to convert the locals but also indulge in passions brought from home.
When the French left, interest in making wine faded, especially during the Cultural Revolution.
Then Chinese liquor maker VATS Group winery ShangriLa, came to the area to encourage locals to grow wine grapes again. Over the years, ShangriLa vineyard manager taught the locals how to grow the best grapes for wine. That changed the whole economy of the region, from subsistence farming to producing a cash crop. People in the region, like those in Cizhong, had money to spend.
Then the French returned. Late February of 2012, French winemaker Moet Hennessy joint ventured with ShangriLa Winery to plant additional vineyards and utilize those already ShangriLa had established with the local farmers.
Looking forward, Moet Hennessy Chief Executive Christophe Navarre said just after the joint venture announcement: "China will be our number one market this year. I'm very confident in the continued growth of the luxury market."
Looks as if it has been a global wine market for some time.
|Wife prepares breakfast in kitchen of Teacher Zhang's Tibetan-style guesthouse in Cizhong village on LanCang (also called Lantsang, Lansang and Mekong) River, Yunnan Province, China.|
|Morning light streaks in through window as teacher Zhang's wife prepares breakfast in kitchen of Tibetan-style hours and guesthouse in Cizhong village.|
|Honey Rose grape vines in original vineyard planted by French priests at the historic Catholic Church in Cizhong village on LanCang River, Yunnan Province, China.|