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about this region

China is an emerging powerhouse in the global wine industry characterized by its rapidly growing vineyards and diverse grape varieties. China already ranks 3rd globally in terms of vineyard surface area. Spanning vast regions with varying climates and terroirs, China offers a unique backdrop for viticulture.

The country primarily focuses on red grape varieties, which constitute about 79% of its wine grape cultivation. Leading the charge is Cabernet Sauvignon, the most extensively planted variety, covering around 60,000 hectares. Other popular red grapes include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Gernischt, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the indigenous Vitis Amurensis Rupr. White grape varieties also have a significant presence, accounting for 20% of the cultivation, with Chardonnay, Italian Riesling, Longyan, and Ugni Blanc being the most notable. Additionally, teinturier grapes like Alicante Bouschet and Yan 73, though less common, add to the diversity of China's vineyards.

The Chinese wine industry, with its blend of international and local grape varieties, is evolving rapidly. It’s not just about quantity; there's an increasing focus on improving quality and wine-making techniques, signaling China's ambition to carve a niche in the global wine market. This blend of traditional methods with modern innovation is positioning China as an exciting and dynamic player in the world of wine.


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China's wine industry, marked by a diverse range of grape varieties, showcases a blend of both international favorites and unique local cultivars. These grapes, thriving in China's varied terroirs, have distinct agricultural and climatic needs that influence their cultivation. Here’s a look at some of the most common grapes grown in China:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: This globally renowned red grape variety flourishes in China's warmer regions. Cabernet Sauvignon requires a significant amount of heat to ripen fully but can adapt to a variety of soil types. Well-drained, deep, and not overly fertile soils are ideal, as they encourage the vines to put more energy into grape production rather than excessive foliage. This variety benefits from a long growing season with plenty of sunshine and a dry climate to avoid diseases like rot and mildew.
  2. Merlot: Merlot vines prefer a slightly cooler climate than Cabernet Sauvignon but still need ample warmth and sunlight to ripen. They are adaptable to different soil types but perform best in lighter, well-drained soils which help in maintaining the balance of sugar and acidity in the grapes. This variety is relatively hardy, with a good resistance to cold, making it suitable for regions with cooler temperatures.
  3. Chardonnay: Chardonnay, one of the white grape varieties cultivated in China, thrives in cooler climate conditions. It requires well-drained, fertile soils and benefits from cooler night temperatures, which help maintain acidity levels in the grapes. This grape is sensitive to spring frosts but adapts well to a range of soil types, from limestone to clay and gravel.
  4. Italian Riesling: Italian Riesling, another white variety, prefers cooler, continental climates. It requires a long, cool growing season for proper development and ripening. The grape is known for its hardiness, especially in cold winter conditions, and does best in well-drained, slightly acidic soils. It’s particularly sensitive to drought conditions, requiring consistent moisture throughout the growing season.

Each of these grape varieties contributes uniquely to the tapestry of China's wine industry, with their specific agricultural and climatic requirements shaping the landscape of Chinese viticulture.

China's wine country, increasingly prominent in the global wine scene, offers an intriguing array of wines that vary in body, color, and texture. The wines from this region, reflecting the diverse terroir and climate conditions of China, range from robust and full-bodied reds to light, crisp whites. Their visual aspects are as varied as their flavors, presenting a spectrum from deep, intense reds to pale, delicate yellows.

1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Chinese Cabernet Sauvignon wines are known for their rich and complex aromatic profile. They typically exhibit a bouquet of dark fruits like blackcurrant and blackberry, often accompanied by subtle hints of oak, vanilla, and spices due to aging in barrels. On the palate, these wines are full-bodied with a robust structure, showcasing flavors that mirror their aromatic complexity, along with noticeable tannins and a lingering finish.

2. Merlot: Merlot wines from China are appreciated for their softer and more rounded profile compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatically, they often present notes of ripe red fruits such as cherries and plums, sometimes with a touch of herbal or earthy undertones. Flavor-wise, these wines are medium-bodied, with a smoother tannic structure, making them more approachable and versatile in pairing with a variety of foods.

3. Chardonnay: The Chardonnay wines of China typically exhibit a fresh and fruity aromatic profile, with scents of citrus, apple, and sometimes tropical fruits. Depending on the winemaking techniques, some may also have subtle oak and buttery notes. In terms of flavor, these wines range from light to medium-bodied, with a focus on the freshness of the fruit and a balanced acidity, leading to a clean and refreshing finish.

4. Italian Riesling: Known for its aromatic intensity, Italian Riesling from China often exudes floral and fruity aromas, with dominant notes of citrus and stone fruits. These wines are generally light-bodied and crisp, with a pronounced acidity that highlights their fresh and vibrant flavor profile. The finish is typically refreshing, making these wines ideal for warm-weather sipping and pairing with light dishes.

Each of these wines offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of China's wine country, showcasing a balance of traditional winemaking and modern innovation. The aromatic and flavor profiles of these wines are a testament to the unique characteristics of Chinese terroir and the skill of its winemakers.

History of the Region

The winemaking history in China is a tapestry of ancient traditions and modern advancements. It begins with archaeological findings in 1995, suggesting wine production in the late Neolithic period, about 4600 years ago. The Han Dynasty marks a pivotal moment with the introduction of Vitis vinifera from Central Asia, significantly influencing the wine industry.

Fast forward to 1892, the modern era of winemaking was ushered in by Zhang Bishi's establishment of Changyu Winery in Yantai. However, the industry faced challenges, including the bankruptcy of Changyu in 1948 due to wars.

Post-1949, following the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the industry began to recover. The 1980s marked a period of rapid growth, fueled by economic reforms. In 1994, China's commitment to quality and regulation in winemaking was solidified with the introduction of its first national wine standard, updated in 2008 to a compulsory standard.

This journey from ancient winemaking practices to a modern, regulated industry underlines China's evolving role in the global wine market.

Regions and Subregions

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