Life & Leisure

‘Promised land’: Ningxia leads China’s booming wine industry

By Alex Plavevski

Yinchuan, China, Oct 29 (epa-efe).- Nestled in a valley in the hinterlands of north-central China, between the Yellow River and the Helan Mountains in Ningxia, lies some of the country’s most fertile soil that yields a range of rich agricultural products, from wheat and rice to sugar and grapes.

Known as the “Oasis of the hinterland”, the area, which combines optimal altitudes with an arid climate and moderate temperatures, has become the major hub of Chinese wine production.

This so-called golden zone of Chinese viniculture boasts a range of well known grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, and Chardonnay, as well as local strains.

And thanks to Mrs Wang Fang — known by locals as “Crazy Wang” —, a long-time wine lover and the owner of the Cannan Winery, the region is also a producer of the German classic white wine, Riesling.

“I can’t survive a summer without a glass of Riesling,” Fang jokes during a tour of her wine cellar in Yinchuan.

Her father pioneered the industry in the area at a time when the culture was still taking root.

“My father is the first generation of ‘crazy Wang’ because he firmly believed in wine production and quality in Ningxia, (even though) no one thought that was possible. Now, I’m known as the second generation of ‘crazy’ because I wanted to have German Riesling in my vineyard.”

She developed her taste for the white wine’s fresh and fruity aromas while living in Germany for years, before she took over the vineyard from her father in 2010.

“This was a promised land for me,” she says. “This soil at the eastern foothills of the Helan Mountains is rich with minerals which are good for cultivating grapes, unlike the soil closer to the Yellow River, which is excellent for rice.”

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