Many people think that products made in China are often cheap and inferior to those made elsewhere in the world. It’s a reputation that effects most exports from China, including clothing and electronics, however that reputation may be about to change for one specific product!
Despite the fact that Ningxia in northern China has only been growing grapes for wine production for the last decade, it has beaten off competition from the Bordeaux region of France in a blind wine tasting which was help in Beijing.
10 wine experts, 5 from China and 5 from France sampled a mixture of 5 wines from each region and ranked each wine individually. Surprisingly to everyone involved and the wine lovers across the world, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Grace Vineyards in Ningxia came out as the favorite bottle! In fact, the top 4 spots were all taken by bottles of wine from Ningxia, with a 2009 Medoc from Bordeaux being the highest ranking French wine in 5th position.
A similar wine test was carried out in 1976, which also had similar results, with Bordeaux wines being beaten by the New World wines.
Each bottle of wine that was used in the taste test was produced in either 2008 or 2009, with a price tag in China of 200-400yuan, which is around $30-$60. Many have argued this caused an unfair test as imported wine is levied with a 48% import tax!
Even taking into account the price difference though, the French wine experts all admitted that the Chinese wine has enormous potential and could become one of the world’s finest wine producing regions. There has been a huge increase in wine drinking over the last few years in China, and it is now the single largest export client of the Bordeaux region. The wine consumption in China is growing at such a rate that they expect it to overtake the USA within years to become the largest wine consuming nation in the world.
Many wine companies are now looking to purchase and grow their own vineyards in the Ningxia in order to cash in on the new area.
The event was arranged when a bottle from Ningxia was crowned the best Bordeaux style wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London.
So, when you start seeing Chinese wine on the shelves of the wine merchants in the coming years, don’t dismiss it as being cheap or inferior wine with giving it a taste first!
The author has worked in the wine and gourmet food industry for years and is interested in the development of new world wines.