A city steeped in wine
Updated: 2012-06-28 08:13
By Zhao Ruixue in Yantai, Shandong (China Daily)
Performances at the on-going exposition.
International aficionados taste Changyu wine at the on-going exposition.
Drinking wine is now a part of the Yantai lifestyle, not surprising in a city that produces 360 million liters of wine yearly, one-third of the nation's total.
"As the birthplace of China's modern wine industry, Yantai aims to be a world-famous production and trade center for wine," said Wang Liang, the city's mayor.
Yantai's connection to wine dates back to 1892 when Changyu Pioneer Wine Co, China's first winery, was established near the coastline of Shandong province.
In 1987, the city was recognized as an International Grape and Wine City by the International Office of Vine and Wine, becoming the only Asian city to have the honor.
According to Yi Fenghuang, head of Yantai Wine Bureau, Yantai now has a complete wine industry that integrates planting, winemaking, trade and related tourism.
Some 20,200 hectares of grapes are under cultivation to supply more than 150 wineries operating in Yantai.
Together they produced 360 million liters of wine last year, generating 22.7 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) in revenues and profits of 3.5 billion yuan.
The city has three nationally famous brands and five trademarks in the wine sector. It also has eight Shandong famous brands and 13 leading provincial trademarks.
Among the top 10 wine brands in China, Yantai is home to six including Changyu and Great Wall, which is owned by China National Cereals, Oil and Foodstuffs Corp.
Several more chateaus are planned in Yantai's satellite cities of Qixia and Penglai, and its Laishan district, which will bring the total number to 50 by the end of 2015.
To promote the city's wine industry, Yantai hammers out the 12th Five-Year plan for the wine industry.
According to Yantai's 12th Five-Year plan for the industry, the city is allocating 5 million yuan each year to support its wine sector by developing quality grape growing sites, further building wine brands and subsidizing grape growers.
By 2015, about 33,000 additional hectares will be developed for grape cultivation in Yantai.
Total yearly wine production is projected to reach 500 million liters, which would generate about 40 billion yuan in revenue.
Over the next four years, Yantai will focus on developing high-end vintages the Changyu International Wine Research and Development Center now under construction is designed to integrate research, winemaking and tourism.
It is also striving to cultivate another 20 wine brands by 2015 and is in the process of applying for a geographical indication trademark for Yantai wine.
Another facility under construction - the Yantai International Wine Trade Center - will be the largest one of its kind in China and a clearinghouse for 300 wines from home and abroad.
More than 1 million tourists now visit Chateau Changyu-Castel and its wine museum every year.
The city government also plans to build a wine-themed square and shopping streets to further boost tourism.
(China Daily 06/28/2012 page24)