By Jim Boyce
[I recently had dinner with Lenz Moser and asked him about the current situation at Moser-Changyu XV in Ningxia.]
Winemaker Lenz Moser, who is involved with top-three China producerÂ Changyu in a project in the Ningxia region, says the clock is being “reset” on the venture’s European sales plans.
Three years ago, the sprawlingÂ Changyu Moser XV opened with much fanfare. It included palatial grounds, vineyards and a museum, cellar, tasting room and sales room. Hopes were high about penetrating the European market. (See here for my interview with Moser during the opening.)
While Changyu-Moser did make something of a splash by getting a wine listed by BBR in London, he says the goal now is to regroup.
To that end, Moser just spent six weeks in Ningxia for this year’s vintage, his longest visit to date, and made five wines: the top-end ‘chateau‘ Cabernet Sauvignon, the second-tier ‘Moser Family‘ Cabernet and three-entry level wines, including a Cabernet, a Cabernet rose and an Italian Riesling-Chardonnay blend. Changyu uses the chateau’s nine-year-old vineyards as well as contract grapes, the latter representing more than 90 percent of its fruit, says Moser.
Moser also says he’s been experimenting with the wines and did eight versions of whites, from batches using Champagne yeast to those with varying amounts of maceration. He says the wines will be estate bottled this year rather than packaged at one of Changyu’s other facilities.
In terms of Europe, Moser says he is looking atÂ 10 markets, with the UK and GermanyÂ at the top of the list. The wines will be priced at 50 euros for chateau level, 25 euros for Moser Family level and 10 euros for entry-level, he says. And the focus will be on the current vintage or on wines still in barrel. As for this year’s rose, Changyu’s first, he says all 250,000 bottles produced are destined for the EuropeanÂ market.
Those prices are quite high for Europe, given wine typically sells for less than 5 euros, so it will be interesting to see what kind of marketing strategy is to come for Changyu-Moser.
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