[This info originally appeared in the Grape Wall newsletter. Sign up here.]
There is a chill in the air these days, due to both the coming winter season and the continued stagnation of the wine scene.
But one area is hot: Ningxia.
This promising north-central region just finished fourth in a “top wine regions” list, besting places such as Napa, Barossa, Tuscany and Champagne and trailing only Bordeaux, Rioja and Mendoza. Burgundy finished a distant eleventh. A second list of “The Best Wines of the World” saw 19 Chinese producers rank in a “top 100” headed by DBR Lafite (see below).
“The Top Wine Regions of the World” was spearheaded by the International Wine Brand Center, a project launched last year in Ningxia via the International Academy of Brand Sciences, the China Brand Building Promotion Association and Helan Mountain East Foothill Wine Industry Park, per a Ningxia News report.
The list was revealed during the awards ceremony last month for the Third Ningxia Helan Mountain East International Wine Competition and the First Ningxia Marselan Selection, organized in cooperation with Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which faced issues this year when it distanced itself from the results of a contest in Xinjiang it was involved in with regular wine event partner Beijing International Wine Exchange and that included judges who represent some of the top international brands in China.
According to Ningxia News, input on the wine regions list was sought from about 30 experts from China, the United States, France and elsewhere, standards were established for ranking wine regions, and, long story short — boom! — Ningxia is umber four.
Not surprisingly, the results were met with bewilderment and snark from some trade people, particularly those from regions that finished worse than fourth. Meanwhile, one person familiar with Ningxia told me the list was simply a way to pump up the region.
There was also a second list announced, “The Best Wine Brands of the World”, with Chinese producers Changyu and Great Wall taking third and sixth place respectively.
The other top-six producers were DBR Lafite (first), Moet Chandon (second), Penfolds (fourth) and Concha y Toro (fifth), although the latter was initially mistakenly listed as from Australia.
There were a total of 19 producers from China in the top 100.
(Long-term readers likely know I have been involved with some Ningxia projects, including bringing winemakers for two-year contests in 2012 and 2015. I have nothing to do with either of these current lists nor the recent competitions, although I am in contact with about Ningxia 50 wineries directly for our World Marselan Day efforts.)
You can also sign up for my free newsletter here. Follow Grape Wall on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And see sibling sites World Marselan Day, World Baijiu Day and Beijing Boyce. Reach Grape Wall via grapewallofchina (at) gmail.com.