Wine, Women & Song, v2022: China’s Dancing Winemakers

Wine, women and song has a new meaning thanks to a Ningxia trio that blends oenological skills and coordinated dance moves.

The trio’s veteran is Jiang Jing of winery Pu Shang, best known for making Marselan, a grape gaining ample attention in China. (See my World Marselan Day project.)

Jiang started to posted short dance videos made in different parts of Pu Shang to Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, after the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. She also posts to social media app WeChat.

“Dancing has always been a hobby. Because the COVID-19 outbreak prevented us from going out to do promotion last year, I shot some dance videos for fun,” she explained in this Grape Wall Q&8 last year.

“The winery is relatively large and I did videos in different locations, such as the barrel cellar, tank room and vineyard, and found people started to pay attention to Pu Shang because of this.”

Jiang has been joined by two close friends / fellow winemakers in recent months — Gao Yujie and Emma Yu. The fun clip above is typical of the videos they create, featuring both Chinese and international music, and filmed in the wine cellar.

The dance videos are aimed at bringing more attention to these winemakers, all of whom have the skills to produce top-quality wines.

As noted, Jiang (above) has specialized in Marselan as a way of standing out.

“Everyone was planting and making wine with Cabernet Sauvignon,” she said about her Marselan focus. “For a small winery like Pu Shang just starting out, it would have been difficult to become famous right away by making quality Cabernet Sauvignon, so we took a different route and chose Marselan.”

Pu Shang’s Marselan is considered among China’s best and Jiang has presented it around the country, including at events organized by the Yinchuan Wine Association.

Gao Yujie hails from family-owned winery September Helan, which is very close to well-known operations Helan Qing Xue and Kanaan, with the Helan Mountain range in full view.

Established in 2009, September Helan bottles wine under its own name as well as the brand Jade Glory. The operation has 300 mu / 20 hectares of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Marselan, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah. Gao Yujie shares winemaking duties with sister Gao Yurui.

They also made their first apricot wine in 2021 — see last photo above — with plans to make more this year.

Emma Yu was a winemaker at Changyu Moser XV in Ningxia before leaving last year. She is still making wine in Ningxia and Yunnan, including for independent label Petit Mont, which includes Dunkelfelder in its portfolio. (See this post on the trend of independent winemakers in China.)

In this Q&8 post, Yu notes that Yunnan’s wine industry has greater fruit diversity but a smaller scale and slower growth than that of Ningxia. Yu, who does flower arranging as a hobby, is also involved with the family’s wine importing and distribution business, New Century, in Tianjin.

It’s great to see the people who make China’s fine wines, the winemakers, using tools such as videos and social media to connect with the people who drink them, the consumers. Including with this video that celebrated 520 (May 20), one of China’s equivalents to Valentine’s Day, a great time to share a few bottles of Marselan or Dunkelfelder or even apricot wine.

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