The Wines of China
China is a leader amongst the world in many things: population size, technological innovation, and dumplings. But did you know they’ve also got a substantial part in global wine production?
The history of Chinese wine goes back about 9000 years which is sort of hard to comprehend but basically, this means that the earliest chemically confirmed alcoholic beverage was found in China in 7000 B.C. Not only is the country among the top ten global wine producers but they are the largest importer of wine in the entire world, with over 2.5 billion dollars spent in 2014.
There are over a dozen wine-producing regions in China, with the region of Yantai-Penglai which houses over 140 wineries and produces 40% of the entire nation’s wine. Amongst the other largest areas of wine-production in China are Beijing, Yantai, Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Yibin in Sichuan, Tonghua in Jilin, Taiyuan in Shanxi, and Ningxia.
We already know about the typical Asian wines like rice wine or plum wine, but this article is about the true fermentation of grapes themselves. Many of the best vineyards in China were planted and are maintained by other foreign experts, particularly those from Europe. Take the vineyards of Shanxi, which are very small but are now turning a profit with the help of renowned consultant Jean Claude Berrouet.
The export market of Chinese wines has been a little slow, but with the continued help of French consultants and that natural tendency of the Chinese to be the best at everything they do, you can expect to see more and more Chinese wines on the shelves over the next few years.