Historic occasions, I’m sure you will agree, should be suitable marked and acknowledged. In future years the first time a Chinese winery exhibited at the London International Wine Fair may well come to be seen as an historic occasion – see press release:
‘China to exhibit wine for the first time at LIWF 2013
‘Chinese wine will be represented at this year’s London International Wine Fair for the first time. Château Hansen was established by the Han family in the 1980s and winemaking has been overseen by French winemaker, Bruno Paumard since 2010. Bruno Paumard, who was previously at Saumur-based Bouvet-Ladubay, will be presenting the wines at the LIWF in May.
Château Hansen is an organic estate – China’s first – located in Wuhai, on the southern edge of the Gobi Desert, in Inner Mongolia. 450ha of vineyards have been planted in the Wuhai Valley and adjacent region of Ningxia, at around 1,500m. Conditions are arid with temperatures dropping to as low as -30°C over the winter months, when the vines are buried for protection.
Château Hansen currently produces around two million bottles annually, with no history of exporting until now. Château Hansen will be showing its Côtes du Fleuve Jaune du Désert de Gobi at the LIWF. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Franc and Merlot sourced from parcels in Ningxia, Gansu and Wuhai and aged in 30% new French oak for 16 months. Cabernet Gernischt is considered the flagship varietal for China with spicy, peppery characteristics.’
On Friday I was delighted to find a shirt above that will mark this occasion in this own modest manner.
Apparently China is the fifth largest wine producing country in the world. Only France, Italy, Spain and Turkey* have more vines planted than China, where there are now 1,233,000 acres (498,977 hectares).