Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chateau Lafite launches wine project in China

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Chateau Changyu
  • Chateau Changyu

Next week, I head to China, not on a business trip but on vacation. But that doesn't mean I won't be scouting the place for Chinese wine potential. Recently, the owners of highly esteemed French wine producer Chateau Lafite Rothschild announced a 60-acre Chinese wine project in the northeastern Shandong Province. It's one of China's largest wine regions due to its proximity to the Bohai and Yellow Seas that provide a protective maritime climate.

The project has taken 15 years to get off the ground. It's not surprising -- getting a tourist visa to China was painful enough (and expensive)... I can't imagine the hassles of navigating the bureaucracy and acquiring land by working with low-tech farmers. In this newly acquired soil, they'll plant mostly red grape varieties and we won't see the wines for another five or six years from now.

But until then, I'm curious to try the wines available in the restaurants and bars in the major cities like Shanghai and Beijing. I'll be reporting every few days through Facebook and Twitter (@tayloreason) if you're curious of my findings.

My earlier report on Chinese wines

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