The grape escape

(Beijing Weekend)
Updated: 2007-08-27 10:39

Those looking for a sweet taste of the country can now take a dedicated bus to Caiyu -- the township designated by the Government as the "home of Chinese grapes". A new tourist bus route takes visitors from Beijing Grand View Garden to Caiyu in Daxing District, where they can pick grapes, as well plums, peaches, pears and apricots.

Professional guides give commentary throughout the journey, and the route allows passengers to visit Caiyu Grape Museum, and eat or stay at a countryside home.

The town also produces country-style food, black porcelain, paper cuttings and calabash artworks.

Caiyu has 20,000 mu (1,333 hectares) of more than 100 varieties of grapes, with an annual production of 21 million kilograms. It is also cooperating with Xinjiang's Turpan in an effort to boost production.

The bus leaves at 9am everyday, with a ticket costing 50 yuan (inclusive of return tickets, a meal and sceneries).

With 55 villages and 320,000 residents, Caiyu has come to be known as the Turpan of Beijing, reference to the large grape production area of northwestern China.

Caiyu's climate and geography resemble those of Bordeaux in France, making the region well suited for the growth of sweet and tasty grapes. Some of the most popular varieties of grapes are Rose Fragrance, Huge Peak, and Stoneless Red Gem.

The town has held a grape festival in August each year since 2002. Visitors can tour corridors of grapes spanning kilometers, picking and tasting grapes from the vine along the way. They can also squeeze their own grape juice, and create miniature grape landscapes.

Wine-tasting parties are held in the evenings, with plenty of opportunities to try drops from the local Harvest brand. Local families open their kitchens and their homes for accommodation, providing guests with a taste of rural hospitality.

Grand View Garden: 12 Nancaiyuan Jie, Xuanwu District. 010-6354-4993
Caiyu Township Tourism Office: Daxing District. 010-8027-3611.


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