International Wine and Spirits Competition: Chinese winery recognized at 'Oscars' of drink industry
Chinese wine has been recognized for the first time by the International Wine and Spirit Competition, known in industry circles as the "Oscars for wine". China is now one of the world's biggest consumers of wine. The domestic industry is still little known overseas, but that hasn't stopped it from growing rapidly. CGTN's Zhang He reports.
China has more vineyards than France, but its wine is relatively unknown outside the country. For the first time ever, a dedicated Chinese wine trophy has been included in the world's most prestigious competition for the beverage. It was awarded to Chateau Changyu Golden Icewine Valley in China's Northeast province of Liaoning.
RICHARD STOPPARD EUROPEAN COO, IWSC GROUP "We have welcomed Chinese wine into the competition. This year for example we have seen over 300 percent growth in entries from Chinese wines, making it significant player within the completion itself. It is important for us to recognize that the increase of qualities of Chinese wine with the trophy and with the correct level of recognition."
Chinese commercial wine production began in 1892 when a Chinese diplomat started a wine in the city of Yantai. Today, grapes are harvested from the remote part of the Gobi desert known as Jingxia to the hilly peninsula of Shandong. This vast area boasts of hundreds of wineries, making it the second-largest collection of vineyards outside of Spain. Despite the abundance to vines to tend, China still produces less wine than more popular bottling countries like Italy or France.
LENZ MOSER, AUSTRIAN WINEMAKER YANTAI CHANGYU PIONEER WINE COMPANY "China is as big as America, as big as Australia. It has all the different time zones. For ice wine, Liao Ning is perfect region and Ningxia makes fantastic whites wines as Red wine Shandong does. So that's all secured."
Interest for Chinese wine overseas is also growing. Beijing-based Great Wall owns brands in Chile and France, while Changyu sells wine in several European counties. For instance, bottles of red and white are starting to appear in restaurants, hotels, and even supermarkets in Britain.
ADAM LECHMERE GENERAL MANAGER, IWSC GROUP "It is not curiosity, but something of a high quality product. Waitrose, Sainsbury's and other major multiple supermarkets now sell Chinese wine. So it is not a surprising thing for people to see Chinese wine and at the same time, quality is shooting up, getting better and better. "
SONG JING MANAGING DIRECTOR, CROWN RANGE CELLAR "China has made wine for the last decades but not many people in the western world know that China is actually making good wine. This is great opportunity to showcase Chinese wine and judged by the most prestige wine competition in the world. "
It's still early days for Chinese wine. But like the drink, the industry is bound to get better over time. Zhang He, CGTN, London.