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Wine on a mission

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-20 06:59

Wine on a mission

Chateaux in Penglai, Shandong province, boast grape plantations, winemaking, wine stores, guest rooms and sightseeing options. Some will host celebrations to declare the beginning of grape picking and winemaking in the fall.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Competition in China

While Penglai is an up-and-comer on the wine scene, it has some competition for the title China's best wine region. Nearby Yantai has been growing grapes for wine-making for more than 100 years, ever since Changyu Pioneer Wine Co, China's oldest and largest winery, was started in 1892 by Zhang Bishi.

Then there is the trendy Ningxia Hui autonomous region in China's west, with plenty of sunshine, dry air and cool nights, thanks to the confluence of river and mountains. The local government there is spending millions to promote Ningxia's blossoming reputation as a boutique wine hotspot, and old established Shandong wineries like Changyu have established outposts there as well. The Shandong crowd likes to sniff at the Ningxia hoopla, insisting that since the region gets so cold in winter that the vines must be buried to insulate them from the snow, it's not quite in Shandong's league. But in fact, most of the big producers grow the bulk of their grapes in the remote and cold west areas, including Gansu but especially Xinjiang, so Penglai will have to fight for the title of "best in China".

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