Emerging Quality Chinese Wineries: Domaine Franco Chinois and Chateau Canaan Visit

I had the privilege to join some luminaries of the wine scene this past week in Hualai, Hebei. Richard Li, my former colleague invited me to join Lau Chi-sun of Wine Now Monthly, Jim Boyce of Grape Wall of China as well as Vincent and the always effervescent Judy Chan from Grace Vineyard.

We set off on a bright but crisp Beijing early afternoon once properly fortified with soup noodles

Drop down the bags and get some winter gear on because it is about to go to -10C as the wan sun drops and the winter winds kick up.

We’re off into the nursery to see cuttings with a demonstration from Richard on using the V-cut bench.

Grafting Rootstock and Vinestock

The resident stallion was happier to see us than the geese

In Huailai, as with many other Chinese regions due to the winter temperatures and dehydration after thaw, wineries need to bury the vines. In order to cope, they use a modified J-Prune with a single cordon similar to a Single Guyot which is easier to bury and protects the Scion, Cordon and buds in the soil which gets plowed up on top of the rows.

Where did I leave my sunglasses??
Great Wall Signal Tower in the vineyards
Plenty of New French Oak Barrels
Many wines to taste, theme of another post

Published by thegrapelife

Professional fermented grape taster, Jonathan Mather, originally from Michigan, now hails from the other side of the world- Hong Kong. A sense of adventure and love of exploration has taken Jonathan on some great journeys. Through a love of travel enjoy the pleasure of meeting new and interesting people, and enjoy fine food, wine and music. All of the above; Together if possible! As a classically trained chef and hotelier Jonathan is still exploring life’s pleasures. Over the past two decades, Jonathan has worked in a variety of restaurants and hotels. Passion for great food and wine experiences led to catering and events for hotels. Jonathan’s excitement to explore; meet new people and eat what they eat has led him from street taco stands in Acapulco at 3am to the heights of fine Gastronomy. Always returning for a simple repast of peasant food and great wine- a NY strip rare with salt and pepper, wedge salad, shrimp cocktail, braised osso bucco and a great bottle of wine with some good friends!! While at Michigan State, Jonathan had the honor to run a student led gourmet dinner event for over 300 guests, Les Gourmets. Experience with Les Gourmets and other events sparked a passion for event planning and catering. After graduating from Michigan State’s Prestigious School of Hospitality Business in 1997, Jonathan worked in catering and events with InterContinental Chicago. In the early 2000's Jonathan was a partner in creating YLo Epicure in Denver a gourmet deli and catering company later sold and still one of Denver's top catering offerings. Later moving to Hong Kong, Jonathan has worked in the wine and spirits import and distribution market for over a decade. After a successful chapter with Macallan in sales and marketing, continued rising to General Manager Greater South China for ASC Fine Wines, a division of Suntory. Jonathan has been consulting on import, distribution and brand management for select clients in the region.

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