By Jim Boyce
Ningxia in north-central China is in the midst of the next step of its ambitious plan to become a leading wine region — setting up facilities that can supply up to five million vines per year.
The plan, which would ultimately make Ningxia less dependent on outside sources, calls for the import of hundreds of thousands of European vines, no easy feat given current regulations that favor local growers. Word is some vines have already been shipped and the issue is getting them through regulators and into Ningxia.
The plan calls for Ningxia to buy a wide range of equipment from Europe, from customized tractors and grafting equipment to clippers and computers. And it will require facilities fitted with climate-control equipment to offset the effects of the dangerously cold Ningxia winters.
If all goes to plan, the facility will produce three million to million vines per year within three to four years and hit full capacity in five to six years.
It would also represent another substantial achievement for a region that in the past two years has created a new organization to oversee the wine sector (Bureau of Grape and Floriculture Development), joined the OIV as an observer member, and promoted its wines by entering overseas wine competitions, holding tastings in cities around China and hosting foreign winemakers.