Ningxia wines wow UN diplo­mats

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By HONG XIAO at the United Na­tions xi­ao­hong@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

They raised their glasses to the wines of Ningxia at United Na­tions head­quar­ters in New York this week.

As part of the Chi­nese Food Fes­ti­val, which runs from Mon­day to Fri­day this week, more than 20 UN am­bas­sadors and diplo­mats at­tended an ex­clu­sive lun­cheon on Wed­nes­day.

Cuisines for the lun­cheon were pre­pared by chefs from the Ningxia Hui au­tonomous re­gion, and in­ter­na­tional award-win­ning wines pro­duced in the eastern foothills of the He­lan Moun­tains in the North­west China re­gion were fea­tured.

Ravi Ba­tra, ad­viser to the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of Ukraine to the UN, shared a story about Chi­nese liquor dur­ing the lun­cheon. He re­called the time that In­dia’s am­bas­sador was host­ing a Chi­nese diplo­mat, and Mao­tai, the most renowned Chi­nese bai­jiu, was served.

“It scared me that noth­ing had never gone down off my palate that is stronger than Mao­tai, but to­day, it (Ningxia wine) changes my view; this is so won­der­ful!” he said.

Cao Kai­long, di­rec­tor of the Ningxia Grape In­dus­try Devel­op­ment Bureau, told the guests that the wine was made from grapes planted in the eastern foothills of the He­lan Moun­tains in Ningxia lo­cated be­tween 37 and 39 de­grees north lat­i­tude.

“It is be­lieved to be the ‘golden zone’ for wine-grape cul­ti­va­tion in the world,” he added.

“The soil, sun­shine, tem­per­a­ture, pre­cip­i­ta­tion, alti­tude, hy­dro­ther­mal co-ef­fi­cient and other con­di­tions con­sti­tute a per­fec­tion com­bi­na­tion to pro­duce grapes with well-de­vel­oped aroma, good chro­mo­ge­n­e­sis and a bal­anced acid-sugar ra­tio,” Cao ex­plained.

The wine re­gion of the He­lan Moun­tains in Ningxia has 86 wine chateaus and plants nearly 40,000 hectares of wine grapes, which can pro­duce nearly 100,000 tons of wine per year. It is the only chateau wine-pro­duc­ing area in China.

“It has be­come China’s most promis­ing wine-pro­duc­ing area on a par with the world’s best wine-pro­duc­ing ar­eas,” Cao said con­fi­dently.

Alexan­dru Cu­jba, for­mer per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Moldova to the UN, re­called his visit to the Ningxia re­gion last Septem­ber.

“I was deeply im­pressed by what I have seen over there. This re­gion is re­mark­able. The re­sults achieved by Ningxia in the area of agri­cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly the grape and wine in­dus­try, are ex­tra­or­di­nary,” he said.

“China is an ex­am­ple that there is kind of a global awak­en­ing of thoughts on wine that more and more peo­ple are go­ing into wine (mak­ing),” said Kaha Im­nadze, per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UN.

Im­nadze said that there’s com­pe­ti­tion in most in­dus­tries, “but in wine, the more peo­ple go into wine, it’s bet­ter for ev­ery wine­mak­ing coun­try”.

The great ad­van­tage that Ningxia has is its va­ri­ety and po­ten­tial as a wine­mak­ing re­gion that is be­com­ing glob­ally known.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

María Fer­nanda Espinosa (cen­ter), pres­i­dent of the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly, joins Cao Kai­long (to her right in suit), di­rec­tor of the Ningxia grape in­dus­try bureau, and guests at UN head­quar­ters in New York on Wed­nes­day.

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