From Ningxia geology to the new regional brand 'Ningxia Hong', here's the latest report on China's up-and-coming fine wine region in the wild northwest.
Chateau Changyu Moser XV, backed by China’s oldest and biggest wine producing company Changyu, is another estate built with tourism in its mind.
Chateau Changyu Moser XV, Ningxia
With a total investment of 600m CNY (65m GBP), Chateau Changyu Moser XV opened to the public in 2013, one year earlier than Yuanshi. The estate’s central piece is a ‘Byzantine-style’ chateau (see above).
The chateau, which can be mistaken for one in Bordeaux, is also a popular movie set, we were told, and I do remember from two years ago seeing a hospital-like set and a couple of rusted cages on our way to the cellar.
‘We receive 50,000 – 80,000 visitors each year,’ said Fan Xi, chief engineer (winemaker) and deputy general manager of the estate, ‘70% of them are consumers who do not work in wine.’
Different from Yuangshi, visitors only purchase 1% of the estate’s astonishing 1500 tonnes of annual production, most of which is pumped into the Changyu group’s wide-spread distribution channels around China and abroad, said the winemaker.
Each visitor, however, pays 80 CNY (8.7 GBP) per ticket for a tour in the massive built-in wine museum, where they get to see every element of winemaking, experience wine aromas, and learn about the century-long history of Changyu, which also coincides the winemaking heritage of China. They can even make their own labelled wines at an extra cost.
‘For us wine tours are more important for branding and nurturing potential customers; sales come second,’ said Fan. ‘At the end of the tour, we want our visitors to feel that they have gained some knowledge about wine.’
‘There’s a huge potential in education here,’ said British wine critic Robert Joseph, who is also at our press tour, ‘every year thousands of consumers are exposed to wine via these visits. It’s likely some of them will become regular wine drinkers in the future.’