Through the grapevine | Longdai (Lafite) bought Treaty Port’s vineyards

Chris Ruffle, the British businessman who founded winery Treaty Port aka The Scottish Castle over 15 years ago in Shandong, says he has sold his vineyards to DBR Lafite to be used by its Chinese winery–named Longdai–a short walk away.

“I sold my vineyard to Chateau Lafite last week!”, he said in a message. “I retain the Scottish Castle hotel and winery, so I will still make wine from local grapes and your favourite Whisky.”

Treaty Port is in Qiushan Valley, a short drive from Yantai airport and a growing presence in the Chinese fine wine scene. Along with Longdai, it has attracted operations like Runaway Cow and Mystic Island.

Ruffle discussed his vineyards last year in an interview for this site’s World Marselan Day project:

“I planted the vineyard in two parts–100 mu [6.5 hectares] in 2005 and 200 mu [13 hectares] in 2007. Marselan was in the second planting, which turned out to be better plots, being further up the hill where they catch the breeze and which helps to ward off mildew.”

Longdai has also included Marselan, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache hybrid that was created in 1961 and is gaining popularity in China, in its flagship wine.

“My suggestion to plant Marselan, to supplement their normal Bordeaux blends, is about the only piece of advice which Lafite accepted from me. (I am British, after all.),” Ruffle joked in the interview.

When Longdai released its first wine in 2019, it reported using 25 hectares of the 30 hectares that it had planted on some 360 terraces, and it has since leveraged more of its space. The addition of Treaty Port’s vineyards, which include grape varieties such as Petit Verdot, Viognier and Chardonnay, among others, will provide more options for production.

Ruffle retains possession of the Treaty Port facilities, which include a winery, dining hall, retail area and guest rooms — visitors are picked up at the airport by MINI Cooper. Treaty Port also offers superb views of Qiushan Valley, which is emerging as an excellent wine tourism destination.

I’ll have more details on Treaty Port and Longdai soon — a source at Longdai say there is lots of research to be done on the vineyards before any final decision is made about how to use them. Expect an update once that work is done.

You can also check this post about my most recent Treaty Port visit, and a couple of my Longdai posts here and here. And those in the UK can find Treaty Port wine here.

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