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Toasting the world

Updated: 2014-06-27 23:33
By Hao Liwen (Shanghai Star)

Getting the recognition

Toasting the world

Sonoma in Shanghai 

Toasting the world

Toast to a city of grape wonder 

The primary challenge Chinese winemakers face is that there is either too much moisture in summer or temperatures are too low in winter.

Therefore, good wines are expensive to make here. In Shandong province, mildew is the main problem.

In Ningxia, workers have to bury the vine in winter, only to have to pull it out again in spring. It is all very labor intensive. In the desert of Xinjiang, water scarcity becomes the main issue.

However, these difficulties don’t deter winemakers. In 2011, the 2009 vintage JiaBeiLan Red from Helan Mountain was awarded the Decanter international trophy.

When its winemaker Li Demei received the trophy in London, there was still an element of doubt about its authenticity.

But a trophy is a trophy, and it is rewarded by the most recognized wine judges in the world.

Attention has been given to made-in-China wines, with wine masters and world-renowned critics visiting Chinese vineyards in recent years.

What next?

All eyes are on Helan Mountain, a region close to Yinchuan city, Ningxia.

With its dry weather, sandy soil and large temperature differences between day and night, it seems to have the most potential for varietals for premium wines.

The much awarded JiaBeiLan aside, I have tasted wines from Gao Yuan (Silver Height), LanCui, Yuanshi, and St. Louis Ding. Almost all show great potential. Walking in the vineyards of Helan Mountain, you will find most of the vines are young, as are most of the winemakers. They all need time to grow, but the potential is telling. I am sure we will not only be making wines in China, but making good wines.

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