Monday, 10 November 2014

China’s Fine Wine Region of the Future

This week the Ideal Wine Company wants to take this opportunity to introduce you to what many are calling China’s fine wine region of the future; Ningxia.

Global Wine Powerhouse
Because Ideal Wine Company is a firm dedicated to providing a range of fine wines from across the world at reasonable prices, we couldn’t have failed to notice the rise of China.

In today’s market, China is a veritable powerhouse. Not only is it the world’s largest growing economy, but is becoming one of its biggest wine consumers – especially where red is concerned. Furthermore, it is making inroads into wine production, which has prompted the rise of a potential new luxury wine hot spot, Ningxia.

The Ability to Foster a Ripe Grape Crop
An article in Drinks Business recently explored the region’s capability as a fine wine powerhouse. It featured the thoughts of Berry Bros & Rudd’s Jasper Morris, who weighed up whether Ningxia has what it takes.

Jasper started out by pointing out the region’s positives, of which there are many. Essentially, it has a “strongly continental climate with hot sunny summers and severely cold winters.” Meanwhile, with an altitude sitting 1,000 metres above sea level, Ningxia enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine annually.

This last point means that it really is adequately positioned to become a major player in the world of viticulture. It means that harvests can be picked in October, before the first frost. Frosts are known to damage the quality of the grape. Morris elaborated on the point, saying “there seems to be just enough hang time to ripen the grapes but with current viticultural practices, it is a close run thing.”

Killing the Vine
Yet the region isn’t without its issues. Namely, Ningxia same weather patterns. It can reach extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum. This would mean that vines would need to be buried to survive winter. This process is known to kill a certain percentage of vines every time, meaning new ones must be planted, which can hinder the development of fine wine.

Morris explained why even replanting may be hard in the region, saying this is labour intensive and probably reduces the life of the vine as a percentage do not survive. It is also very difficult to do in those locations, such as Château Yunmo, where there is a much greater percentage of stones in the otherwise sandy soil – certainly there were many more gaps in the vineyard here.”

The Potential of Ningxia

So Ningxia is hardly going to take the crown from Bordeaux anytime soon, nevertheless, it does have the potential to become a major player in the world’s fine wine industry. Whether it does, and increases the role of China in said industry, remains to be seen.