Moët & Chandon’s parent company is gearing up to release sparkling wine grown in Chinese vineyards. Moet Hennessy’s Chandon winery is located in China’s Ningxia region, which has a reputation as one of the country’s best wine producing regions. If you’re not familiar with wine and China, we suggest you check out our 2013 Global Wine Consumption Map and our followup post, What’s The Deal With China And Wine.
Here are some details on Moët’s project:
The wooden doors on Moet Hennessy’s winery building have the look and feel of wine barrels and its rooftop terrace overlooks the Helan mountains.
In a field in which most foreign producers are required to work through joint ventures with Chinese partners, the government took the unusual step of allowing Moet 100 percent ownership of its winery in an effort to promote growth of the industry.
Foreign companies that build chateaus and winery buildings can own them for 70 years under the initiative, according to Cao Kailong, director of Ningxia’s Bureau of Grape and Floriculture Development.
This year, Moet Hennessey plans to sell about 70,000 bottles of its 2012 vintage from Ningxia. Plans call for production of 250,000 bottles from the 2013 vintage for sale next year and then 300,000 of this year’s vintage for sale in 2015.
There’s an interesting balance at play here — appealing to local tastes while taking advantage of a broader desire for ‘Western-style’ wines. On the one hand the bubbly’s structure will be tweaked:
The China version has been tweaked for a palate not used to the acidity normally found in champagne, said Gloria Xia, a winemaker at the Ningxia winery.
“We would stress the aroma and the texture would be very fresh and more balanced,” she said.
On the other, this a clear effort to produce a drink with ‘Western’ appeal:
China’s appetite for Western-style wines has boomed in the past two decades, though the favorite still is red, a color associated with health and good luck.
Sparkling wine consumption more than tripled from 3.7 million bottles in 2009 to more than 13 million last year, according to International Wine and Spirit Research, a British firm. During the same period, total wine consumption rose from 5 billion to 8.8 billion bottles.
“More and more young people, more and more white collar employees, office ladies, enjoy wine and also sparkling wine,” said Shen Yang, director of Moet Hennessy’s Chandon winery in the Ningxia region of China’s northwest.
“We will bring this wine to the dinner tables, into the home and into the life of these young and energetic people,” said Shen.
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