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Xinjiang

Wine-growing area in the north-west of China; see there.

The People's Republic of China (Chinese 中华人民共和国, pinyin Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó) in East Asia with its capital Beijing covers 9,596,961 km² and is the third largest country in the world. It borders 14 neighbouring countries: Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal to the south, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the west, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia to the north and North Korea to the east. To the east and south-east, it lies on the Yellow, East China and South China Seas. The territory stretches from the northernmost tip on the Siberian border to the southern tip of Hainan Island over around 5,500 kilometres and from east to west over around 5,200 kilometres.

China - Landkarte, Flagge und Wappen

History

The contents of 200 clay pots found near Rizhao (Shandong) in 1995, which were dated to 2,600 BC, indicate that grapes were grown in China as long as 4,600 years ago. Residues of grape wine were found in them. The explorer Zhang Qian (195-114 BC) returned from his travels in the west in 138 BC during the Han Dynasty and brought with him knowledge of viticulture. The first written documents date back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when Emperor Li Shimin vulgo Taizong (599-649) noticed the special quality of the grapes from the Turpan Basin, which is why he had his territory extended to the north-western region of Xinjiang. Vinifera varieties called Snake, Mare's Nipple and Dragon's Pearl were probably introduced from Russia as early as the middle of the 7th century. Marco Polo (1254-1324) reports on vineyards and excellent wine in the north-eastern region of Taiyuan. In the 14th century, however, many vineyards were cleared by imperial order in favour of grain cultivation.

Wine never became an important part of life in China as it did for all other great civilised peoples. In addition to the climate, which in large areas is characterised by cold winters and extremely hot summers, this is also due to the eating habits, as in Chinese cuisine, at least in some areas, particularly spicy dishes are popular, with which rice brandy goes much better than wine. However, reducing food to spicy does not do China justice. There are large areas that do not have spicy cuisine. In particular, these are Guangdong, Shandong, Xinjiang, Shanghai, Beijing and north-east China. Grape wine (grape alcohol), as it is known in China, also played a subordinate role alongside rice wine (mijiu) for a very long time when it came to low-alcohol beverages. For over a thousand years, wine remained an exclusive rarity for a wealthy minority; this is only now beginning to change rapidly.

Beginning of the modern history of viticulture

Modern Chinese wine history began in 1892, when the businessman Cheong Fatt Tze, known as Chang Bishi (1840-1916), bought land in Yantai (Shandong), introduced 150 varieties with around 500,000 vines from Europe and the USA and founded the Chang Yu winery. The Austro-Hungarian consul Baron Max von Babo (1862-1933) was engaged as advisor and cellar master. He imported barrels, presses and 400,000 Welschriesling seedlings from Austria and brought the winery to international renown. This was the birth of the wine multinational Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Company. At the beginning of the 20th century, other large wineries were founded, such as Shang-Yi (now Beijing Friendship Winery) in Shandong by French missionaries in 1910, Melco in Quingdao by German missionaries in 1914 and Tung-Hua in Jilin by Japanese missionaries. At the same time, French monks in Yunnan were practising viticulture locally but with an astonishing influence on the population, which...

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Dominik Trick

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Dominik Trick
Technischer Lehrer, staatl. geprüfter Sommelier, Hotelfachschule Heidelberg

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