Wine Region Spotlight: China

Wine Region Spotlight: China

by Steve Chapman, World Cooperage Account Manager

China is a land of contrasts, especially when it comes to the different vineyard regions spread across this vast country. From the wet and humid east coast, to the temperate central regions, and the arid and cold northwest, there is an incredible spectrum of growing conditions.

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Harvest time in Xinjiang Provence

This variation in growing conditions presents a multitude of challenges to both viticulturalists and winemakers. As coopers, we also have to ensure we are supplying the correct barrel type suitable for the different regions and wine styles.

Luckily, we have built great relationships with our customers over the years. Assisted by our long time friend and Agent, Michael Zhang, we have seen some stunning results. In fact, one of our customers, Canaan (north of Beijing), has produced some outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay by adopting modern vineyard practices and incorporating appropriate barrel choices in their winemaking process.

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At Canaan winery with Michael Zhang on the left and Sean Lin (consultant winemaker) in the centre

In late fall and early winter, the vineyards are extremely busy, pruning and burying the vines. Yes that’s correct, most of the vineyards in China have to be buried to protect them against the winter chill – often plunging in some areas to -40 degrees Celsius! Harsh conditions indeed, especially as most of this work is done by hand.

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Vineyard ready to be buried for winter

For over 25 years, I have been travelling and working in Chinese wineries and vineyards. During this time I have had the privilege of seeing the wines improve dramatically. I've been especially excited to see new wine regions emerge in recent years that show great promise. The future looks very bright indeed.

Cheers!
Steve Chapman

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