Make wine in China? Ningxia Wine Challenge to fund 10 foreign winemakers this fall


By Jim Boyce

The government of Ningxia will invite 10 foreign winemakers to visit this fall and each make a red wine and a white wine, with the best ones eligible for prizes that total rmb200,000  –  about USD30,000 or EUR25,000.

Called the Ningxia Wine Challenge, the project was initiated by Cao Kailong, who is director of the region’s Bureau of Grape and Floriculture Industry and active in other initiatives to develop links to the wider wine world, including Ningxia joining the International Organisation of Vine and Wine earlier this year as an observer.

Ningxia, officially known as the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is in northwestern China. It includes the area east of the Helan Mountains, home to dozens of wineries that are increasingly attracting the attention of wine critics and performing well in competitions. Cao says the goals of the Ningxia Wine Challenge include increasing the region’s global profile and bringing its winemakers together with their foreign counterparts to exchange ideas and practices.

Some details about the Ningxia Wine Challenge:

  • Ten foreign wine makers will travel to Ningxia on August 31 to attend the festival and participate in the grape harvest. The wine makers will each hand-select grapes from the same vineyard. They then will each produce one red wine and one white wine at the same facility. The grape varieties to be used will be revealed after the wine makers arrive in Ningxia. (Note: Expected white grape harvest to start ~September 10 and red grape harvest from September 20 to early October .)
  • The organizers will cover the cost of transportation and accommodation for each wine maker’s initial trip to Ningxia and for up to three return visits. When not in Ningxia, the wine makers may contact assistants there to help with monitoring and other tasks involving the wines.
  • A panel of judges from overseas and China will judge the white wines in September 2013 and the red wines in September 2014. The prize for the top wine in each category will be rmb50,000. The prizes for second place and third place will be rmb30,000 and rmb10,000 respectively. Two “honorable mentions” in each category will receive rmb5,000.
  • =The deadline for applications is July 27 at 5 PM in the location of the applicant. A panel of five judges from five countries will decide on the ten wine makers who will participate and announce their results by August 1.

To apply for the Ningxia Wine Challenge, send your CV and completed application form (click HERE) to apply (at)

For more information, email info (at)

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