Sep 02, 2013

    Chateaux sprout in Chinese vineyards

    LEADING Chinese vineyards are constructing chateaux at a furious pace as they strive to catch up with world-famous premium wineries whose products are pouring into the nation.

    There are already more than 160 chateaux in China, and about 200 more are under construction.

    The latest was opened by leading winery Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The 630-million-yuan (S$131-million) Chateau Changyu Baron Balboa in Shihezi includes a 6,000 sq m cellar, production facilities, a museum and a 37ha vineyard.

    It is expected to produce 1,000 tonnes of wine every year.

    "Wine chateaux are the basic prerequisite for premium wines, so Changyu is building six chateaux in different grape-growing areas across China," said Mr Zhou Hongjiang, general manager of the company.

    He said the Xinjiang chateau will be the company's wine-production base in the western part of China.

    It will be a tourist destination that will offer services associated with wine, such as wine appreciation, and will provide a venue for conferences.

    The firm also plans to build a European-style town and a wine-trade centre at the chateau, with completion scheduled for 2016.

    The abundant sunshine and huge day-night temperature differentials result in grapes with more sugar content, making Xinjiang one of the best places in China for growing quality grapes.