The number of China’s vineyards continued to grow in 2016, confirming its position as the country with the second highest surface in the world, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) announced in Paris…Full Article: Apr 2017

Key Points

  • From 2015 to 2016, China’s (wine) vineyards area increased by 17,000 hectares to 847,000 hectares. Over the same time period, China’s wine production decreased by 1% to 11.4 million hectoliters (hl). However, Chinese consumption increased by 6.9% to 17.3 million hl.

ChinaAg Comments

  • By 2020, the Ningxia vineyards, located primarily around the Helan Mountains, will reportedly produce approximately 200 million bottles of wine per year.
  • As of 2016, Ningxia Region cultivated grapes on ~40,666 ha, of which ~35,333 were vineyards (wine making).
  • 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.
  • Located 550 miles west of Beijing, Ningxia is a small, poor, desert-like region best known for its lamb and goji berries. However, starting in the late 1990s, the region began clearing land for vineyards on the eastern slopes of the Helan Mountains. As of 2012, Ningxia produced only 16.5 million liters of wine (1.2% of total output), but hopes to have over 66,000 hectares of vineyards and over 100 chateaus (e.g. wineries) by 2020. Varieties under production will include Cabernets (Sauvignon, Gernischt, and Franc), Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chenin Blanc. In particular, Ningxia has attracted foreign investors such as France’s Moët & Chandon (owner of Dom Pérignon) and Pernod Ricard (owner of Australia’s Jacob’s Creek) to lease, develop, and manage vineyards. In 2011, the Chandon Ningxia winery joint venture was formed by the Ningxia-based SOE Nongken and France’s Moët Hennessy. Foreign investment is made easier by the fact that the Chinese government owns the majority of the land in Ningxia, which simplifies the transaction and development process. Land in Shandong province for instance, is owned by thousands of smallholder farmers.
  • 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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