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On a viticulture in China already 4,600 years ago contents of in 200 near Rizhao (Shandong) found 200 pottery vessels, which on 2,600 v. Chr. Were dated. In these residues of grape wine were found. The explorer Zhang Qian (195-114 BC) returned in 138 BC. At the time of the Han Dynasty, he returned from his voyages from the West and brought with him viticulture skills. The first written documents date back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when Emperor Li Shimin vulgo Taizong (599-649) noticed the special quality of the grapes from the Turpan Basin, for which reason he extended his territory to the northwestern region of Xinjiang. Already in the middle of the 7th century, vinifera varieties called serpent, mare's nipple (Mare's nipple) and dragon's pearl were probably imported from Russia. Marco Polo (1254-1324) reports on vineyards and excellent wine in the northeastern region of Taiyuan. In the 14th century, however, many vineyards were cleared in imperial order in favor of cereal crops.

Wine has never become an important part of life in China, as it has for all other great civilized people. Next to the climate In addition to the huge rice and cereal areas, this is likely to be related to eating habits, as Chinese foods are particularly spicy foods, to which rice schnapps are much more suited than Wine. Even with the alcoholic drinks played in China so designated grape wine (grape alcohol) in addition to the rice wine (Mijiu) for a very long time a minor role. Wine remained an exclusive rarity for a small wealthy minority for over a thousand years; that is only beginning to change rapidly today.

The modern Chinese wine history began in 1892. The businessman Cheong Fatt Tze vulgo Chang Bishi (1841-1916) bought land in Yantai (Shandong), introduced 150 varieties with 500,000 vines from Europe and the USA and founded the Chang Yu Winery. The Austro-Hungarian consul Baron Max von was appointed consultant and butler Babo (1862-1933). This led barrels, presses and 400,000 Riesling seedlings from Austria and brought the winery to an international reputation. That was the birth of the multinational Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Company, At the beginning of the 20th century, other major wineries were founded, such as 1910 by French missionaries Shang-Yi (now Beijing Friendship Winery) in Shandong, 1914 by Melco in Quingdao by German missionaries, and by Japanese Tung-Hua in Jilin.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 extensive vineyards were created on the Yellow River. From the end of the 1970s, foreign investments were then promoted. The first partner was in 1980 the French company Rémy Martin (today Rémy Cointreau ), the brand with Chinese investors Dynasty produced. The "Huadong Winery" in Qingdao (Shandong) was built in 1985 by investors from Honkong and from 1990 Allied Domecq acquired. And the French company Pernod Ricard founded in 1987 together with the "Beijing Friendship Winery" the brand "Dragon Seal".

The food company Hua Xia founded in 1988 the Hua Xia Winery with the brand "Great Wall". The "Marco Polo Winery" in Yantai was founded in 1990 in cooperation with Italian investors with a rice wine producer. The Spanish family business Torres founded the wine wholesaler "Torres China" in 1997. The Hong Kong-based chemicals group "Leung's Group" acquired the "Suwu Zhuangyan Winery" in Gansu in 2000. All these companies imported European varieties, modern cellars and employed foreigners oenologists, The Chinese top 10 companies produce around 80% of the volume of wine.

The main wine-growing areas are located on the coast to the Yellow and South China Sea in the east of the country, starting above from Shanghai to the extreme northwest on the border with Mongolia, The most suitable wine-growing region for European varieties is the south of Beijing province or peninsula Shandong with the best sections Lao Shan and Da Za Shan with about 20% of the areas. It lies on the lower reaches of the Yellow River (Huang He) and has coasts to the Gulf of Bohai and the Yellow Sea. Due to the proximity of the sea prevails maritime climate. Subsequently, the province of Hebei with the designated as "Bordeaux China" part of Changli , where the Tyrolean company Swarovski-Langes operates the "Bodega Langes". Other wine-growing areas in the northeast are Tianjin , Liaoning and Jilin .

China - winegrowing areas

The central northern province of Ningxia is considered one of the most promising wine-growing areas. It is a high plateau at 1,100 meters above sea level with clay, loess and sand soils with a high proportion of humus. The climate is characterized by 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and a rainy season. Therefore, an artificial irrigation the vineyards with the waters of the Yellow River. Here was under advice of the Austrian Laurenz Maria Moser an operation of the multinational Yantai Changyu built up. Other areas include the Gansu to the northwest and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau to the southwest. In the extreme northwest of the country with is finally the largest wine growing area Xinjiang . Here in the Turpan Basin there was already in the 2nd century BC. Chr. The earliest mentioned earlier Chinese vineyards. The sun-rich area with calcareous sandy soils and great 24-hour temperature differences that promote the aromas is considered the best for viticulture.

The vineyard area totaled 706,000 hectares in 2012, with a strong upward trend. As of 2000, there was a growth of more than threefold in just 12 years. But only a relatively small proportion of about 80,000 hectares is used for the production of 15.5 million hectoliters of wine. There are hundreds of native grape varieties, mostly from Wild vines descended. Many vines are not refined, as there are not any phylloxera gave. For the generously produced table grapes and raisins Beichun, Long Yan (dragon eye), Jifeng (Ju Feng), mare teas, chicken heart (Cock's Heart) and crossbreeds are the main species Muscat d'Hamburg with varieties of Asian species Vitis amurensis used. Around 80% of the vineyards are planted with non-vinifera varieties. The Blend from 2010 includes the quality wine grape varieties with about 30,000 hectares, from which wines come from European standards:





Cabernet Sauvignon red - 22612
Merlot red - 3560
Carmenère red Cabernet Gernischt 1353
Chardonnay White - 738
Cabernet Franc red - 507
Riesling White - 437
Syrah red Petite Sirah, Shiraz 223
Ruby Cabernet red - 40
Pinot Noir red - 40
Garnacha Tinta red Grenache Noir 11
Chenin Blanc White - 10
Gewurztraminer / Traminer White - 5
Cinsault White Cinsault 3
Pinot Blanc White - 2
Pinot gris White - 2
Sauvignon Blanc White - 1
Sémillon White - 1
Crystal White - ?
Tuo Xian White Tuo Xian Putao ?

But wine still plays a subordinate role in the daily lives of the Chinese; also because it is expensive. Prices of 50 euros and more per bottle, especially for products originating from abroad, are not uncommon. The per capita consumption in the year is constantly rising and is already around a bottle compared to the end of the 1990s with then a quarter liter. The most popular light alcohol beverage is beer, the national drinks Baijiu ( spirit ) and Mijiu ( rice wine ). However, there is a trend reversal to particularly red wine with around 80% share, including the French paradox as well as the great importance of the color red has contributed. Because red is not only the national color, but in Chinese culture also a symbol of wealth, power and happiness. This also manifests itself in the name of wine, which is usually referred to as Pútáojiǔ (grape alcohol), but also regardless of the color as Hóngjiǔ (red alcohol).

On wine law on a European scale, there is not. And not infrequently (still) Chinese is "blended" with foreign wine. But the state is increasingly intervening in unfair practices. In 2010, 30 companies were closed down in the Hebei region after Pantsch scandals and label frauds became manageable. In 2013, Xi Jinping (* 1953) became the new president and heightened the fight against corruption. More than 90% of production is consumed in one's own country. But wine is drunk only from high middle class, so he is the drink of the wealthy. In China, only about 40 million of the 1.4 billion people drink wine (3%). The Chinese consumer is still learning, so to speak - wine is often mixed with Coca Cola and the red wine is chilled with ice cubes. The custom or bad habit of the ganbei as with schnapps (ex-drinking) is still widespread. In 2014, wine production was already around 16 million hectoliters, making China the fifth largest wine producer in the world. The state is investing heavily in wineries and structures to position China among the top three wine countries in the foreseeable future.

Map: By Pancrat - Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
edited by Norbert Tischelmayer / February 2018

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