Winery tour: Taillan in photos

Pictures, pictures, pictures – that’s my friend Kraft-D’s advice for this blog. Last night, I dug up a few dozen from a November 2005 trip to Taillan, a winery just outside Beijing. Sequoia Cafe owner Frank Siegel and the American Community Club co-organized the trip (for full details, see Tying One on at Taillan).

Alain in Field 1

General Manager Alain Leroux (above, right) led our tour of Taillan, a ten-year-old Sino-French venture. He said that the vines are grafted to North American rootstalk to protect them from phylloxera, a kind of plant lice.

Alain in Field 2

He also gave us some insights into producing wine in China. “At the beginning, French people thought it would be an easy market, but no.”

Taillan Inside

With that cleared up, we headed inside and learned that the vats can store up to 100,000 bottles worth of wine. Taillan has enough equipment to process thousands of bottles per hour, often doing bottling for other companies.

Taste Test

Our little group could never handle even an hour of Taillan’s output, but we were ready to try. After Frank unpacked a picnic lunch of cold cuts, cheese, breads and potato salad, we worked our way through what Alain called “drinkable” wines, including a 2000 Chardonnay, 2003 Rose, 2003 Malbec (my favorite), Merlot, 2001 Pinot Noir and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taillan Bottle

Drinkable, indeed!

(This post originally appeared on February 6, 2007 on

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