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Pouring forth from the desert

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-18 08:31
Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser is impressed by the grapes grown in Ningxia.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chateau Changyu Moser XV is innovating to make the most of its grapes, whose special properties come from their unique terroir in arid Ningxia, Li Yingxue reports.

Chateau Changyu Moser XV's chief winemaker, Lenz Moser, decided to start this year's grape harvest in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region on Oct 3.

It was Moser's latest harvest in the past five years-about a week later than usual. He'd waited until the sugars and tannins were perfect.

"The intensity of the fruit was expressive as never before. They were the best grapes I have ever worked with in Ningxia," he says.

The harvest lasts for around two weeks, during which many people work 14 hours a day, seven days a week. It's the most important time of year for the chateau. Moser walked around 15,000 steps between the vineyard and the winery every day this season.

The grapes are sorted and fermented after harvest. After two years in French oak selected by Moser, the wines are ready to meet the world. Moser hopes they'll shine in the Chinese and global markets.

Moser belongs to the 15th generation of Austria's famous Moser winemaking family. He came to China in 2005.

After working with Changyu on sales and marketing for 10 years, he realized that, even though it had become the biggest wine company in China, it was not successful internationally.

Moser became chief winemaker of Chateau Changyu Moser XV in 2015.

He brought with him all his experience, from growing grapes to bottling.

He even sold his winemaking business in Europe so he could concentrate on the chateau in China.

Chateau Changyu Moser XV was founded in 2013 with the vision to bring the "best of China" to the world.

Changyu invested around $77.2 million to build it. The chateau houses 1,500 barriques in its cellar and high-tech facilities, including the bottling line.

Every stage of production takes place at the chateau, including viticulture, pressing, fermentation and maturation.

The compound also hosts a museum dedicated to the history of Chinese winemaking and of Changyu since its founding in 1892.

It's located near Ningxia's capital, Yinchuan. The area is ideal for growing grapes because of an altitude of 1,100 meters, cool nights and over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually.

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