Chateau makes wines fit for world leaders
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.”