Drink Chinese Sparkling Wine and Taste the Future
One of the major trends, sweeping through China in the twenty-first century is wine consumption. Over the past couple of decades, wine consumption has ballooned in the Middle Kingdom. China is poised to become the number one consumer of wine in the world in 2016.
The wine of choice in China is irrefutably red wine. There are a number of reasons why this is true, two of the most glaring are that red is a colour that is associated with good luck in China and there is a deep association with good health. As a spokesman for Vinexpo, the wine industry conference based in Bordeaux, succinctly stated: “Red is a very positive colour in Chinese culture and is synonymous with wealth, power and luck. In the business world, these three values are fundamental, therefore red wine is often found in banquets to seal partnerships. And red is also the colour of China.”
Red wine is so popular that China became the world’s largest consumer in 2013. As popular as red wine is there is a new trend that is rapidly changing the wine scene in China: sparkling wine. The Chinese market has a taste for bubbly and this is evidenced by an incline in the importation of champagne, cava, and prosecco. The total increase in the volume of sparkling wine in China between 2010 and 2015 has been an eye-popping 352.7%.
Although the rise in sparkling wine importation is raising some eyebrows in the global wine community, it is the bubbly that China is producing that is increasingly important. China now produces everything from high-end sparkling wine to superb values that are dollar for dollar on par with sparkling wines in many of the world’s premier wine producing regions.
A Brief History
Sparkling wine produced in China is a new phenomenon. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) chose to open Chandon China, the nation’s first sparkling wine house, in 2013. The winery is a joint venture with a Chinese company which invested a total of $28 million in the project with LVMH.
LVMH has other houses devoted to sparkling wine spread throughout the globe, including Brazil, California, and Australia. However, the Chinese project is special because it was the first piece in this rapidly growing industry and it has helped to give sparkling wine an elevated image and more profound presence in the world’s fastest growing wine market. It is important to note that LVMH is not the only vineyard producing fine sparkling wine in China today.
Exploring China’s Sparkling Wine Scene in Ningxia
If you would like to experience China’s sparkling wine scene, it is best to visit the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. If you go, a visit to Chandon China is a must. Not only because it is the first sparkling wine house in China, but because it is a beautiful estate nestled at the foot of Helan Mountain. According to the estate’s director, Shen Yang, they selected the specific location because: “With its 30-year history of winegrowing, the Ningxia region has shown that its natural conditions – a dry climate, protected environment and well irrigated soil – were ideal for producing grapes of high quality.”
The Ningxia region is an excellent place for wine lovers and is considered by many to be the premier region in the country. For this reason alone, it is worth the trip. But for those who want to better understand how the wine industry continues to grow and change in China, Ningxia is a must.
Which Chinese Sparkling Wine To Choose
Grace Vineyard, known for producing some of the finest wines in China, is one of the most recognizable names in the Chinese wine scene. After six years of careful preparation, they unveiled their “Angelina” sparkling wine series in 2015. Everything that Grace Vineyard does is tasteful and well thought out. Commenting on their line of sparkling wine owner Judy Grace said, “I am obsessed with all kinds of bubbles, 10 years ago I had the idea in my mind to make a beautiful sparkling wine.” Indeed, she made several of them. They have carefully crafted three sparkling wines that each feature a single grape varietal:
They have carefully crafted three sparkling wines that each feature a single grape varietal: Chennin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also feature their 2009 Brut Reserve, which is made exclusively from Chardonnay. This wine has been acclaimed by critics worldwide. No matter your taste in sparkling wine, Grace Vineyards has a bubbly for every palate.
Chandon China broke new ground at this year’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine’s World Championships by netting a gold medal for their Brut NV Rose. They also received a silver medal for their NV Brut. Both of these wines are exceptional values for world-class sparkling wines.
No matter what your taste in bubbly, there is something that will delight you in China. Raising a glass of sparkling wine is a great way to enjoy one of the many fine experiences China has to offer.
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He has written for The Permaculture Research Institute and Uisio among other prominent outlets.
He is the author of Death: An Exploration (2016). For more visit his official website: www.lorenmayshark.com