Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Co Ltd, one of China’s largest wineries, has started selling its signature Noble Dragon brand in Spain, the first Chinese wine to hit the market. Made with a mix of Cabernet Gernischt and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, it will retail for 10 euros ($11.3). The wine will be available in large food stores and restaurants across the country. Changyu, based in Yantai, Shandong province, has been actively looking at expanding its market presence in Europe with the purchase of local players and their distribution channels…Full Article: China Daily Mar 2016

Key Points

  • In December 2015, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine acquired a majority stake in Marques del Atrio, a Spanish wine company.
  • As of 2015, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine’s Noble Dragon wine was sold in 3,000 European supermarkets including France’s Carrefour SA and Britain’s Tesco PLC. The company hopes to expand its international sales from 10% of total sales to 30% of its total sales by 2020.

ChinaAg Comments

  • From January 2010 to October 2013, the average price for Cabernet Gernischt originating from the ChangYu-Castel Vineyard in Yantai, Shandong province, ranged from a low of US$9 per 750 ml to a high of US$27 (Wine-Searcher.com). Overall, the price averaged approximately US$16. In 2011 and 2012, prices were generally stable at approximately US$11 per 750 ml. In 2010 and 2013, prices noticeably increased from June to September and averaged over US$24 per 750 ml. These price spikes may be due to a poor harvest brought on by inclement weather. For instance, during the winter of 2009 and 2012, Shandong province was hit with heavy snowfall and blizzards, potentially damaging the 2010 and 2013 harvest. In addition, the slight uptick in prices at the tail end of 2012 may be due to Typhoon Damrey, which struck Shandong province in early August of that year.
  • Regionally, China’s Shandong province is the top wine producer, accounting for 34% (467 million liters) of the country’s production in 2012. Over 200 wine enterprises are located in Shandong, with the majority situated near the coastal cities of Yantai, Qingdao, and Weihai in Jiaodong Peninsula. Yantai in particular is home to six of China’s top ten wine companies, including ChangYu, the country’s oldest and largest Chinese winery. Owing to the peninsula’s climatic conditions, the region is well suited for the cultivation of late maturing grapevine varieties. The primary red grape varieties include Cabernets (Sauvignon, Gernischt, and Franc), Merlot, Syrah, Yan 73 and Yan 74. White grape varieties under cultivation include Chardonnay and Riesling.
  • In 1892, Chinese businessman and famed diplomat, Zhang Bishi, founded the ChangYu Pioneer Wine Company in Shandong Province. Zhang Bishi imported approximately 120 grape varieties from Europe and the United States, with Cabernet Gernischt (aka Cabernet Shelongzhu or Cabernet snake pearl), emerging as the dominant variety. Cabernet Gernischt, a distant relative of Cabernet Franc, is an orphaned grape variety that was likely wiped out during a phylloxera outbreak that spread across Europe during the late 19th century.

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