Tonghua to transform into a wine city
By Wang Xiaodong
( China Daily )
Tonghua, especially the Yalu River Valley, boasts fertile soils and favorable sunlight and humidity conditions for the growth of wild mountain grapes.[Liu Mingtai/China Daily]
Tonghua Grape Wine was the only wine served at the State banquet marking the founding of the People's Republic of China in Oct 1949.
In 1959, the wine was also served at China's State banquet and it won high praise from former premier Zhou Enlai.
Today, Tonghua, a city in Northeast China's Jilin province, after which Tonghua Grape Wine is named, is building on its legacy of wine production and aiming to become a wine capital that is known around the world.
Located in the Changbai Mountain area, Tonghua boasts plentiful natural and historical resources and a good ecological system. The city is home to traditional Chinese medicine, wine, ginseng, highquality rice, Songhua Inkstone and skiing.
Tonghua boasts fertile soils and favorable sunlight and humidity conditions for the growth of wild mountain grapes. The city's forest coverage is 67 percent, 40 percentage points higher than the national average, and forest coverage in the grape-plantation area is as high as 85 percent.
Grapes grown in the pollution-free area have small seeds, thick skins, low-sugar content, high acidity and rich organics, making them ideal for producing wine.
Wine from the area has a ruby color and a rich balanced taste, with a fruity fragrance that is especially suited to Chinese tastes.
Grapes grown in the region's Yalu River Valley are particularly rich in substances such as proanthocyanidins and tannins.
The city has the largest underground cellar in the world.[Liu Mingtai/China Daily]
Tonghua Grape Wine is made from high-quality mountain grapes processed using unique traditional techniques and advanced modern technology. The wine company said their drinks contain more than 30 essential nutrients with health benefits, including minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
Making use of its rich grape resources, Tonghua has produced wine for the past 70 years and the area's wines have won several national and international awards.
Tonghua Grape Wine has been served at China's State banquets for decades and won popularity in the domestic market. It is available in more than 30 countries and regions.
In 2007, Tonghua was awarded the title "Capital of China's Grape Wine", and Tonghua Grape Wine was recognized as a famous wine brand by Jilin provincial government and the central government. In 2006, the wine won a gold medal during an international wine contest.
Ten wine brands in Tonghua are certified as organic products. The city owns a national quality supervision center for wine and fruit and vegetable drinks and the center's inspection reports are recognized by more than 40 countries and regions.
In 2013, Tonghua's total grape growing area reached 3,400 hectares, with total production of 35,800 tons and a total value of 115 million yuan ($18 million). Of these, grapes for wine accounted for 3,000 hectares with a production value of 31,300 tons.
In recent years, in line with the national strategy of "revitalizing the Northeast", Tonghua has made efforts to transform its resources into economic and brand advantages. The city has particularly focused on developing the wine industry by supporting major wine companies to upgrade capacity, promoting merging of small producers and encouraging the development of grape-production areas such as the Yalu River Valley.
As a result Tonghua has greatly increased its capacity in wine development and production and further increased its advantage as a base for grape and wine raw materials. A complete industrial chain for wine, covering cultivation of high-quality grapes, juicing, fermentation and wine making, has been formed.
There are now 61 wine producers in Tonghua who make 300,000 tons of wine annually that consist of more than 40 types.
In 2013, the city's 15 major wine makers produced 69 million liters, with a total value of 2.1 billion yuan.
Grapes grown in the region have small seeds, thick skins, low-sugar content, high acidity and rich organics, making them ideal for producing wine.[Liu Mingtai/China Daily]
A cluster of wine companies, represented by Tonghua Tongtian Wine Co and Tonghua Grape Wine Co, has put Tonghua, which is also known for its drug and steel industries, on the map.
The city plans to take more measures to support the development of major wine producing companies such as Tonghua Grape Wine Co, and hopes to attract investment from big companies to boost the industry's development.
The city plans to attach more importance to protecting the Yalu River Valley, its major grape area, and develop it into a major base for grape growing.
The government said it would urge companies to enforce strict standards for production and product flow to ensure quality wine.
Tonghua plans to encourage research and publicity of local wine culture, and develop cultural programs based on the wine industry.
Tonghua has produced wine for the past 70 years and the products have won several national and international awards.[Liu Xiao/China Daily]
The city said it would help wine producers speed up technological upgrades to create better products and help build Tonghua into a wine capital.