Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Ningxia winery changed my perception of Chinese craftsmanship

When you think of Chinese workmanship, what words come to mind? 

For me, after visiting wineries all over China for the past five years, the descriptors include: Bigger is better, Showy, Poor craftsmanship, Mass produced, Cheap, It won't last long.  I would not have included: hand-crafted with pride.

Yuanshi winery near Yinchuan city in Ningxia Province changed that.

All of the buildings are crafted from local stone. The businessman owner, Mr. Yuan, designed the structures himself, built the winery complex on his family farm all from stone found in the area. 

In the piercing Ningxia desert sun, I watched one craftsman chisel a design of straight lines on a granite-like building block. It will take him five days to finish carving just this one stone.

I can only imagine going into a Zen-like state to chisel this one stone for 10 hours a day.

All day long this craftsman works in the piercing Ningxia desert sun to hand carve a design in the stone. It will take him five days to finish this one building block.
One goal of the owner is to provide jobs for the local people.
Entrance to YuanShi Winery with Helan Mountains in the background.
If the owner takes this much effort to build the winery, imagine the wine. Remind me to talk about that wine in a future post.

All images international copyright 2014 Janis Miglavs.

For a more comprehensive look at the China Wine industry see my recently released book China The New Wine Frontier written in both Chinese and English. (The book already won the "Best in the World" award from Gourmand.)

To order the book in China go to Amazon China. 

To order in the USA or internationally, contact the author/photographer at

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