Thanks to GS for forwardingÂ a South China Morning Post article about China’s Grace Vineyard – Shanxi takes on wine world – by Mark Graham (registration required). I think these two paragraphs sum things up:
In less than five years, Grace Vineyard,Â located in out-of-the-way Shanxi province has not only turned into aÂ profitable venture, it also is producing vintages that are being accepted on to the wine lists of the Peninsula and Shangri-La hotels.
It is a remarkeable success story, especially given the challenges of setting up a vineyard from scratch inÂ such a hardscrabble region.
Grace CEO Judy Leissner – check my AprilÂ interviewÂ with her – stresses Grace’s low volume. “We produce 500,000 bottles a year compared to the 100 million bottles of the major producers such as Great Wall, Changyu and so on. We are serious about wine.” She also notes that a second vineyard is planned.
The dominant picture in the article shows an elderly picker, cigarette dangling from his mouth, holding a container of grapes. It serves to underscore that while China’s market for wine develops, huge inequalities exist. As SCMP puts it:
Few people in Shanxi itself would be able to afford even the cheapest, HK$68 wine in the range; peasants living nearby would need to splurge several months’ wages to buy the top-of-the-shelf Chairman’s Reserve, that retails for HK$488.
Grace fared well both in my first blind tasting of Chinese wines and in my second (the notes will soon beÂ posted).Â It also came out on top in a major blind tasting in Shanghai. And this weekend, I’m planning to try the winery’s Deep Blue –Â which isÂ 60 percent Merlot,Â 30 percent Cabernet Franc and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon,Â which is not yet on the market, and whichÂ – fingers crossed – holds the promise of beingÂ among the best wines ever to be made in China.
Torres distributes Grace wine.
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