Yes, China is also a wine producing country -- Yunnan, Ningxia (most famous), Shandong, and Hebei on the east coast near Beijing are areas of production.
Wine has a long 2000 year history in China. Although long overshadowed by Huangjiu, a yellow wine, brewed by mixing boiled grains including rice, nuomi or millet with a starter culture. And many stronger distilled spirits. Currently China is the sixth largest wine producer and fifth in consumption. Think about that!
French wine was the first foreign wines imported into China….in fact, I was served Bordeaux wine at a state banquet in Guizhou Province. At the beginning of the economic reforms, Remy Martin ventured into China (1980), followed by LVHM setting up Chandon China (2013) in Ningxia’s Helan Mountains which had already been producing grapes for more than 30 years. China has been bringing in the experts and winemakers from Europe to learn from the best. Now LVMH is also harvesting its first cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes from 30 hectares in the cool hills of southwestern Yunnan.
It is now more a lifestyle choice not just a status symbol or gift. China has surpassed Japan as Asia’s largest wine consumer. But still there is a preference for imported products and still make-up only 11 % of the wine drunk.
Stay tuned More to Come….
But right now – go to Thailand –
Meet Nikki Lohitnavy, the first and only woman winemaker of Thailand. She is the General Manager and Oenologist and Winemaker of her family property, GranMonte, Asoke.She graduated from the University of Adelaide and studied around the world. GranMonte Estate is uniquely located in Asoke Valley, Khao Yai and conveniently lies adjacent to Khao Yai National Park, approximately 160 kilometers from Bangkok. The grandeur of Khao Yai mountain ranges has inspired the name "GranMonte", which translates to "big mountain”. This area is in a lush, humid valley where wild elephants still come to snack in banana grove. But Nikki still sets her sights on world class vintages.
It is one of half a dozen wineries strung along the northern boundary of Khao Yai National Park, a region of forested hills, limestone crags and mushrooming tourism development that has evolved into a Thai version of Italy's Tuscany or California's Napa Valley. It was here, about two hours' drive northeast of Bangkok, that Thailand's pioneering winemakers planted their first grape vines just two decades ago.
"I don't think there is a limit to what we can achieve. The climate and soil may be different but you just have to know how to work out these things," said GranMonte's Nikki Lohitnavy, discounting the traditional notion that fine wines can be created only between the 30th and 50th degrees of latitude, and in Mediterranean-type climates. Thailand, which lies between five and 20 degrees north, falls into a growing category of "new latitude" winemaking countries that also includes India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya and China's Yunnan Province.