It’s only natural that China should celebrate it’s new found wealth and place in the world as one of the leading nations. What better way to celebrate than with a glass of wine. It used to be that the wine the Chinese would drink would be something from a chateau in France. Today, it’s just as likely to be something made from home-grown grapes. The three leading Chinese wine producers are Changyu Pioneer Wine, Great Wall Wine Co, Ltd and Dynasty Wine, Ltd. None of these have yet reached a sales level that threatens the winemakers of Napa or Bordeaux but experts believe that it won’t be too long before China is turning out wines as good as many other premier grape-growing regions of the world.
Once the Chinese focus on something that can be done they usually have the resources to make it happen. Many of the newly rich in China who have made their money in any one of numerous endeavors in their native land now drink wine as a symbol of their wealthy status. 90% of the wine consumed in China is red wine and every year the number of new wine drinkers and total tonnage of grapes produced rises dramatically.
Wine is not new to China. It is widely believed that Confucius drank wine from Shandong Province and some believe that wine may have been produced in China as early as 220 B.C. What is new is the recent popularity of wine in China. Many wine enthusiasts fear that China’s wealth and desire for the things that such wealth can acquire will soon see rising prices for the great wines of France, Italy and Napa. At a recent auction of California wines, a young Chinese entrepreneur, David Li bid $500,000 for 6 magnums of Screaming Eagle. When interviewed by the Wine Spectator magazine Li gushed “I love the wines of Napa Valley.”
Recent visits to China by some of the great wine producers of the world seem to indicate they are scouting the area for the best wine-growing locations. It’s only natural that a country as large and diverse in land mass would have some areas that are perfect for growing outstanding grapes. The early visitors hope to take advantage of a trend that they are sure will continue to increase as China expands its interest in this area. It’s becoming apparent that it’s only a matter of time before you peruse the wine list in your favorite dining establishment and ask the sommelier to bring you a nice bottle of the 2014 Shandong Cabernet.