Chateau makes wines fit for world lead­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN

The wines served to world and do­mes­tic lead­ers at a din­ner dur­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion meet­ing in Beijing last Novem­ber came from a pro­ducer in Zhangji­akou.

“We have cre­at­ed­many records in the wine his­tory of China be­cause of the ex­cel­lent ge­o­graphic and weather con­di­tions in Zhangji­akou,” said Jia Liangyu, a wine­maker at the Chateau SunGod GreatWall, the maker that sup­plied the wines that were served at the APEC event.

It be­came the coun­try’s first chateau when it opened in 1979, and it pro­duced its first white wine the fol­low­ing year.

The su­pe­rior qual­ity of its prod­ucts means they have fre­quently been cho­sen as the wines at ma­jor events, in­clud­ing the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Shang­hai World Expo in 2010.

The ex­cel­lent nat­u­ral con­di­tions pro­duce ver­sa­tile, good-qual­ity grapes and wines, Jia said, a view sup­ported by many ex­perts.

The chateau is one of many wine pro­duc­ers around Zhangji­akou in He­bei prov­ince. The Shacheng re­gion ofHuailai county, sit­u­ated at a lat­i­tude of 40 de­grees north, en­joys plenty of sun­shine­and­has low an­nual rain­fall of about 400 mil­lime­ters.

The county is home to 35 winer­ies with 55 wine brands, and its an­nual pro­duc­tion ac­counts for 16 per­cent of the do­mes­tic wine mar­ket.

Peo­ple in China drank more than 1.86 bil­lion bot­tles of wine in 2013— 136 per­cent of the amount con­sumed in 2008.

Cui Yu, who is in charge of mar­ket­ing at the county’s wine bureau, said, “Around 45 per­cent of the county’s pop­u­la­tion of 356,000 work in the wine in­dus­try and re­lated sec­tors.”

In ad­di­tion to the large winer­ies, farm­ers have formed 49 co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties that grow and sell grapes and, in some cases, make wines. The grape-grow­ing area has ex­panded rapidly in re­cent years.

Gao Yuchun, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the Jiahe Co­op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety, said: “A sin­gle farmer can­not sat­isfy a large or­der for grapes. This pushed us to work to­gether to at­tract business and im­prove the tech­nol­ogy.

“We have worked out a new method to pack the grapes, keep­ing them in good shape dur­ing de­liv­ery. The In­ter­net is a newchan­nel and should play a big­ger role in mak­ing the plant­ing of grapes more prof­itable.”

The county has es­tab­lished an on­line shop­ping plat­form for wines, and it plans to pro­mote the whole in­dus­try by in­tro­duc­ing pref­er­en­tial po­lices on tax­a­tion.

The county aims even­tu­ally to have 60 ma­jor winer­ies with an­nual pro­duc­tion of 300,000 metric tons and to­tal turnover of more than 4.5 bil­lion yuan ($726 mil­lion).

Cui said, “Though the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween do­mes­tic and for­eign brands is be­com­ing fiercer, new tech­nolo­gies for grow­ing grape­sand mak­ing wine, and the joint ef­forts of winer­ies and farm­ers, can help us to grow stronger.”

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