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Motto for a new lifestyle: 'Rice wine is better than tears'

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-13 11:29
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Nuoyan is made to redefine contemporary Chinese rice wine, together with drinking culture.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Nuoyan Rice Wine was founded by the winemaker and designer Huang Yu in 2014, after he spent three years developing the company's first product. Now Nuoyan has a mellow sweet series, a sweet series and a fresh sweet series with 13 products in total, their alcoholic content ranging from 8 to 13.7 percent.

Huang, who has built a winery in Fujian province, says he understands that it takes time to develop wine, and he has the patience for that.

"Chinese rice wine was still rustic and lacked the standards when I started seven years ago. If you want to make premium rice wines you can never get around the question of time."

Sparkling rice wine is Nuoyan's newest product, one that took Huang three years to develop, using the brewing methods of sparkling wine.

"Sparkling rice wine is our move to define Chinese rice wine," Huang says. "Unlike ordinary rice wines it is fermented twice to present fine bubbles and the sweet flavor of rice."

In brewing Nuoyan rice wine Huang says he is very strict with each ingredient. The rice is from land in Fujian province at an altitude of 1,400 meters or more, and the water is taken from wells that are more than 100 meters deep.

"We are trying to establish standards for Chinese wines, such as the environment and temperature to brew and store rice wine," Huang says.

"Low-alcohol wines are hard to store because they can easily turn into vinegar and lose their flavor."

Huang used to be a designer, and the Nuoyan packaging designs are all his, he says. He chose a vase-shaped glass bottle originating from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) that looks like a perfume bottle for the sweet wine series.

"You can pour the wine directly from this bottle, and I want it to be possible to serve it with really exquisite dinners, be they Chinese or Western."

Nuoyan's rice wines cost from 42 yuan ($6.50) to 800 yuan.

Xia Siyuan says Nuoyan's target market is people who live comfortably enough but at the same time worry about their work.

"They need low alcohol to let themselves go, and rice wine is better than tears," Xia says.

Nuoyan's first wine house, nestled in an old hutong, had too much of a male air, she says, and she decided to personalize any wine houses Nuoyan opened. The second one was named after her, and it is more female friendly, she says.

"Some will come to this place to celebrate a birthday, and others will come to meet up with a long lost friend. This really is not about selling wines. As a brand, Nuoyan is here to provide a lifestyle."

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