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Wine Country: China

Many believe that this country will be the world's next superpower, but will it be one in the winemaking world?

China has always been known for figuring out how to make something faster, cheaper and in larger scales. Understandably, China is part of the world’s top ten list for wine producing countries. Many believe that China is just joining the world of winemaking. However, a closer look actually indicates that China has over 2000 years of winemaking history.

With over 450,000 hectares of land dedicated to viticulture, China produces 730 million litres; approximately 2.6% of the world production. Even so, 10% of grape growing is only used for winemaking. China has around 450 wine producers with four major players that take up 60% of China’s wine market.

Climate and Soil:
China’s winemaking regions are divided into five areas, each having their own special grape growing characteristics.

The Tianjin Region has a continental monsoon climate, which means that it has sufficient supply of heat, humidity and sunlight. Having sunlight means that the berry can sustain its sugar content. Rainfall is also sufficient as Tianjin accumulates 500 to 700 mm a year. Hangu is a unique wine growing region within Tianjin. The sea saline found in Hangu has rich and well balanced nutrients.

The Shandong region possesses a continental monsoon climate and is paired with distinctive seasonal climates. Located in the downriver of Huanghe, this region has a variety of soil types that are suitable for a variety of grapes.

The city of Penglai is located in the North Coast of the Shandung Peninsula. The temperate climates changes and is accompanied with 2825 hours of sunshine and an accumulation of an annual heat of 4164 degrees Celsius. Penglai has a frost-free period of approximately 216 days per year and has 618mm of rain annually. Penglai has sandy soils that are light with good ventilations and rich content of minerals.

The region of Hebei has a temperate continental monsoon climate Hebei has between 2500 to 3100 hours of sunshine annually. This translates to 120 to 200 frost-free days per year. The average rainfall in this area is between 300 to 800mm. There are two renowned wine regions in Hebei: Changli and Huai-Xhuo Basin.

Changli has a climate similar to Penglai with the exception of colder winter months and its main grape type is Cabernet Sauvignon.
Huai-Xhuo Basin has a long history of viticulture. Being located at the North foot of Yan Mountain, this has a heat summation of 3530 degrees Celsius. With 413 mm of annual rainfall and a sandy lime soil that has high permeability and excellent mix of nutrients, this region can perfectly fulfill the requirements of cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon.

The region of Ningxia is located northwest of China mainland and has typical continental climate. Ningxia has 180-200mm of rainfall with 2854 hours of sunshine annually; Ningxia’s annual heat summation is 3298-3351 degrees Celsius. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24 degrees. Ningxia’s soil content is composed of sandy and gravel soil with thickness of 30 to 100 mm.

Xinjiang is the oldest and most influential winemaking region in China. Xinjiang’s complicated climate divides the region into two different areas: Northern and Southern region. The southern region is for raisin growing and northern part is for grape growing (fresh grapes).

Changshi, Xianjiang’s major vine growing region, is located at the foot of Tian Mountain. Changshi has continental climate and has a heat summation of 3450 degrees Celsius. This region has 2700 hours of sunshine but gets 190 mm of rainfall annually. Frost free periods loses 175 days a year. Its soil is thick with high permeability, resulting in high sugar levels. Changshi is perfect for growing the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and so forth.

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