China-based wine importer / distributor East Meets West just announced it “signed an exclusive on-trade distribution agreement for Mainland of China” with Ningxia winery Xige Estate.
East Meets West (EMW) is already known for representing well-regarded Ningxia boutique winery Legacy Peak and the deal with Xige Estate provides it a partner with far higher volumes.
The deal covers the Jade Dove series, including a white blend, red blend, rose and single vineyard Cabernet Gernischt, a grape closely linked to China’s modern wine history. It also covers the N28 Series, including a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec as well as N50 red. These wines are generally priced toward the entry end of Xige’s portfolio.
Xige Estate ranks among the major operations created in Ningxia in recent years to boost the region’s wine sector, which has had more success in winning medals and critics’ praise during the past decade than in selling wines. With volumes in the millions, these larger producers carry the hopes of succeeding as national brands and helping draw more attention to the overall wine scene in Ningxia.
Xige has Ningxia’s largest plots of “old” vineyards, those about a quarter-century old, with 1000 hectares in total. A further 300 hectares have been planted since the project started in 2017, with more being planned. Add cutting-edge equipment, an ultimate capacity between 5 million and 10 million bottles per year and promotion efforts that already include opening dedicated shops in other provinces / regions as well as exporting abroad, and there is no shortage of ambition.
The project is led by Zhang Yanzhi, a Bordeaux-trained winemaker and founder of importer and distributer Easy Cellar, which handles the likes of Penfolds Max. Chinese reports state that Pigeon Hills was backed by 300 million rmb raised with the help of the region’s Wine Trading Expo Center.
The winemaking side is headed by Liao Zusong, who formerly worked at Shanxi’s Grace Vineyard and has spent time at Bass Philip and Mollydooker in Australia, with consulting from Jean Jacques Dubourdieu, Valerie Lavigne and Luke O’Cuinneagain.
Also see my piece “China’s Wine Egg Hatches” in Wine-Searcher and “Coop d’etat: Pigeon Hills symbolizes new shift for Ningxia” here on Grape Wall.
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