An ecological reserve is giving China’s oenophiles the chance to maintain their own vineyards.
In Rushan, a coastal county in China’s Shandong province, the Taila International Chateau Ecological Culture Area has begun to develop private vineyards. The space has been designed to house 300 chateaus and 2,000 hectares of vineyards. Investors can purchase a 667-square-meter vineyard for 30 years at the cost of 180,000 yuan ($29,400). Vineyard investors are also offered services such as grape planting, wine production, and designing a personal trademark.
According to Wang Zuming, secretary-general of the China Alcoholic Drinks Association’s wine branch, the Taila area “has created a new model” for China’s burgeoning wine industry. In 2013, China drank over 1.86 billion bottles of wine, 1.36 times the amount consumed in 2008, and many consumers are interested in owning their own wineries. In 2011, the Chinese actress Zhao Wei purchased Chateau Monlot in the Bordeaux region of St. Emilion, France for over 4 million euros, according to Decanter. The retired NBA player Yao Ming also set up a vineyard of his own in Napa Valley, California in 2011.
The new vineyard plots are notable because they allow Chinese consumers to make wine within their own country at more affordable costs. The Taila area is also an excellent wine region, creating more than 30 percent of China’s wine products, and has a history of winemaking. The area sits at the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula, and is right next to the city of Yantai, where a Malaysian Chinese winemaker founded the country’s first industrialized wine manufacturer in 1892.
“The area…has abundant sunshine, sandy soil, and with the sea nearby, all the elements are in place to make a good product,” Li Changgang, a buyer who has purchased three vineyard plots in the Taila area, told China Daily.
Peng Xiaoxia, another buyer, is satisfied with the affordability of her own 666.7-square-meter vineyard, which is expected to produce 600 bottles of wine annually. She will pay 50 yuan ($8.2) per bottle.
“I think it is a fair price, to spend 30,000 yuan buying 600 bottles of wine which will bear your own customized trademark, logo and greeting. These are precious presents,” Peng said, adding that she likes the “personality” of Taila-area wine.
Wine is also attractive to Chinese investors, who have experienced considerable losses with other financial products, says Liu Shuqi, author of The Codes of the Wine Industry.
“Investors prefer future wines, especially, which are bought before the wines are actually bottled and released onto the market,” Liu says. “Wines that are much cheaper and limited in quantity have become the investors’ favorites.”
image credit: flickr/dominic rivard