By Jim Boyce | Changyu-Moser XV opened its stunning Loire-esque facility in Ningxia five years ago today. The project pairs Changyu, China’s oldest and biggest producer, with Lenz Moser, who hails from a veteran Austrian wine family. It is sibling to similar huge Changyu wineries in Hebei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong and Xinjiang. Below I’ve posted photos from five different visits, including on opening day, which featured a musical ensemble, toasts of “ganbei” (bottoms up), fireworks, and tours of the cellar, museum, tasting room and more.
In terms of top local wines, I don’t often hear Changyu-Moser XV spoken in the same breath just yet as the likes of Silver Heights, Grace Vineyard and Ao Yun, but its global effort, led by Moser, has resulted in ample media coverage worldwide and the wines being stocked in England, Germany, the US and the UAR, among other places. And, as I learned during a visit in May, there is plenty of ambition in the pipeline. I hope to post about that very soon.
For now, here are 60 photos, one for each month of Changyu-Moser XV’s history.
My most recent visit came in May when I joined a Changyu-organized tour with writers from Germany, Switzerland and England. Deputy GM Fan Xi and Lenz Moser, shown above checking the “terroir”, led a tour of the winery, cellar, museum and more, then we tried the entire CMXV portfolio in the spacious tasting room, where each person gets their own sink! (I’ll have more on these wine soon.) Moser also took our group on visits to other Ningxia wineries to show what the region as a whole has to offer.
I joined about 50 sommeliers from across China on a Ningxia winery tour that included Changyu-Moser XV. Lots of interest in the museum, which includes background on Changyu, old wine labels and ads, a “sniff and guess” kiosk, photos of famous people who have tried the wine, a giant interactive tongue to explain flavors, and more. The tasting part involved a 25 ml pour of one wine and minimal info, a little disappointing given the crowd, but about par for Ningxia wine tourism.
The early arrivals for the Ningxia Winemakers Challenge II, an event I helped organized, enjoyed a tour with Moser. That included videos about the winery’s history, show in the main building’s screening room, and a highly entertaining animated flick about how wine is made, shown in the winery itself. It also included two of Changyu’s Ningxia wines and a tasty ice wine from the northeast operation in Liaoning.
I helped organize a Ningxia visit by winemakers from Bordeaux, Mendoza, Napa and Stellenbosch, and Changyu Moser was among the ten wineries on the itinerary. We learned about Chang Bishi, who founded Changyu in 1892, and Balboa, an Austrian who consulted and helped secure vines his homeland. I especially liked the display of Qing Dynasty-era clothing Chang is said to have worn.
Opening day at Changyu-Moser! The event included hundreds of Changyu distributors and other employees from across the country as well as local officials and members of the wine trade. The band mostly stuck to standards like “Amazing Grace” but I’m pretty sure I heard them sneak in some Bruno Mars. See my write-up here.