As China prepares to make its first-ever “Champagne”, here are some figures for the Chinese wine industry:
China first started making wine from grapes more than 4,600 years agobut modern wine production started in 1892 when Zhang Bishi, a Chinese diplomat, imported some 500,000 vines to start a vineyard in Yantai. His company, now called Changyu Pioneer wine, is thought to be the 10th largest winery in the world.
In 1980, as China began to open up again after years of self-imposed isolation, Remy Martin set up a joint-venture in Tianjin called the Dynasty Wine company, which was at the time only the second-ever joint venture partnership. The company now has over 90 brands.
In 2000, the Chinese market for wine began to boom and by 2005, 90 per cent of grapes grown in China were for domestic wine. Berry Brothers and Rudd, the wine broker, has predicted that Chinese wine will rival Bordeaux for quality within 50 years.
At the moment, three giants dominate the market: Changyu, Great Wall and Dynasty. Between 2001 and 2006 the wine market grew by 68 per cent. The largest producing region is Yantai-Penglai, with more than 140 wineries producing 40 per cent of China’s wine.
Around 90 per cent of wine drunk in China is red.