If you approach the Changyu Chateau, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re cruising Medieval Italy. In reality, you’d be in China, touring an $870 million “wine city.”
Wine City is a “hybrid of production facility, tourist attraction, and trippy fantasia,” Bloomberg writes. It’s 1,000 acres have a chateau and three other new-Gothic structures, vineyards, and a Roman chateau with a moat. It’s not all just for show and tourists, though. When Wine City’s production reaches its peak, it’ll be able to produce 450,000 tons of wine and brandy.
Commitments to projects like these might be why Chinese blind tasters are the best in the world.
The wine city isn’t completed yet, but if you want a vision of what it’s going to be like, just look to its smaller sister site, the Chateau Changyu Reina.
The Chateau Changyu Reina appears to be an Italian winery. Among the vineyards is a castle that looks like it was plucked from Tuscany and dropped into the middle of China. According to Bloomberg, the winery produces around 5,000 bottles of wine from the more than 2,000 acres of vines. Cellars down in the Chateau can hold 150,000 oak barrels.
Inside, a spinning globe tells the history of how wine conquered the world. Taste bud tests and aroma matching practices entertain people who walk through. There’s no prize if you can correctly match the wine smell to the region it’s from, but there is the sweet satisfaction of coming away having nailed one of the most enticing qualities of wine in the middle of a full size Chateau replica.
Doing so in an entire wine city would be a whole other feeling.
The next time you’re planning on a wine trip, maybe it’s time to put China on the map.