Ningxia wines, produced in the Chinese province of Ningxia, are rapidly gaining an international reputation. In recent blind wine-tasting competitions, the Ningxia wines have done better than Bordeaux wines in the same price bracket.
On 17 May 2011 in London, the Decanter trophy for red wine from the Middle East, Far East and Asia went to a 2009 Bordeaux blend from Ningxia province called Jiabeilan from the China Chateau Helan Qingxue winery. The same winery also won a silver medal for its Classic Chardonnay 2008 and a bronze for its Premium Collection Riesling. The winemaker was Li Demei, a wine consultant to six Chinese wineries and a lecturer at the Beijing University of Agriculture. He completed his studies at Enita de Bordeaux in 2001.
On 14 December 2011 in Beijing, in a competition tagged "Bordeaux against Ningxia", experts from China and France tasted five wines from each region. Ningxia was the clear winner with four out of five of the top wines. The best of all was the 2009 Chairman's Reserve, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Grace Vinyards.
Nathalie Sibille, a Bordeaux expert, said the Chinese wines had "performed very, very well", adding, "this region has enormous potential".
According to data from British consulting firm International Wine and Spirit Research, China's wine consumption has doubled over the past five years and is currently the world's seventh-largest consumer in terms of volume. It is expected to become the world's top wine consumer within the next 20 years.
Plans for expansion
The Chinese authorities have given approval to the development of the eastern base of the Helan Mountains in Ningxia Hui autonomous region as an area suitable for wine production. Several large Chinese wine companies including Changyu and Dynasty Wine have begun development in the western region of the province. Together they now own 20,000 acres of land for wine plantations and Dynasty has ploughed 100 million yuan into Ningxia. In addition, the major oil company China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation has founded a grape plantation near the Helan Mountains. The household appliance company Midea has also begun participating in Ningxia's wine industry.
- Adam Lechmere, "Chinese wine wins top honour at Decanter World Wine Awards", Decanter.com, 8 September 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Jason Chow, "Chinese Wine Earns Top Honors", The Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Chinese Wines Reach World Class Level", Gourmand Magazine. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Laurie Burkitt, "Ningxia Beats Bordeaux. Or Does It?", The Wall Street Journal, 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Chinese wines beat Bordeaux in blind tasting", The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Grape expansion: Chinese wine companies move west", Want China Times, 15 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.