Wine from Gobi Desert Aims At Market

As China’s local wine market grows and foreign labels are running vineyards in China, wine from the Gobi desert is aiming at the booming market. The Gobi desert is located in the Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang region. Although the region seems unlikely for the location of a vineyard, the Gobi desert has several different types of climates that are conducive to wine making. Rueters reports:

Just a few hundred metres from towering sand dunes, workers unearth row upon row of grapevines buried under the sand to protect them from temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

Chateau Hansen, which first planted vineyards beside the Gobi in the early 1980s, says the hot, dry summer and plentiful water from the nearby Yellow River make the location among China’s best for wine production.

This moderate-sized vineyard near Wuhai city, 670 kilometres (416 miles) west of Beijing, now boasts 250 hectares of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Gernischt grapevines.

To raise its profile, Hansen has built a grand European-style chateau, which includes a hotel, and enlisted the help of a French wine expert who acts as winemaker.

Although Chateau Hansen mainly sells in China, they will also be present at the Vinexpo Asia Pacific 2012. Winemakers attending the expo, held in Hong Kong, hope to break into the Chinese market. AFP adds:

Organisers of the three-day Vinexpo Asia-Pacific expect demand for imported wine to weather the slowdown in Chinese economic growth, forecast to fall to 7.5 percent this year from 9.2 percent in 2011.

A deep dip in prices of Bordeaux’s most prestigious, investment-grade wines last year suggests the Chinese-driven speculative bubble may have burst, but the market for more modest mid-range wines will open up, they said.

“The promise of the Chinese market and the Asian market continues to be very high. The growth is still there,” Vinexpo chief executive Robert Beynat told AFP.

China is the world’s biggest drinker of spirits, with 995 million cases guzzled in 2010 — almost double the volume consumed in 2006, according to Vinexpo.

Read more about wine in China, via CDT.


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