China’s biggest wine producer unveils its new winery
Chateau Changyu Moser XV’s creamy domed towers, lush gardens, and sculpted fountains seem like a place built in an older time in Europe.
You definitely won’t expect that it’s brand new, or that it’s located in China.
The winery that Changyu built
Introducing Chateau Changyu Moser XV, a winery in Ningxia—an inland region located 1,200km west of Beijing. It houses an 800-barrique cellar, a high-tech bottling line. It even has a museum showcasing the history of Changyu as well as that of winemaking in China. It took just two years to build the winery at a cost of €70 million.
The winery is named after Laurenz Moser, an international winemaker who has worked with Mondavi in California. He was winemaking advisor and consultant for Changyu since 2005.On top of that, he’s also a well-known producer of Grüner Veltliner.
Changyu distributes Laurenz V wines—Moser’s wine brand—in China, and in return, Moser brings Chinese wine to Europe.
The XV in the winery’s name represents the fact that Moser is the 15th generation of the Moser family of the Niederösterreich region of Austria to be working in the winemaking industry.
Moser likens the Ningxia region with Argentina’s Mendoza wine region in terms of soil and climate.
Moser said that his original interest in China was its market potential, but the idea of being a pioneer who brought Chinese wine to the rest of the world was a greater lure.
His reasoning makes sense considering that China—with a population 1.4 Billion—is also the 5th biggest wine consumer in the world. Much of the wine consumption comes from brands produced locally.
The Chateau Changyu Moser XV Grand Vin is a blend of 5% Syrah, 10% Merlot, and 85% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged for 12 months in new oak barrels. The initial bottling came from the 2008 vintage, and was made from 12-year-old grapes that were grown adjacent to the chateau.
The Moser Family—the chateau’s other wine— is a single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon that will be available this season.
The Telegraph wine writer Victoria Moore wrote, “the Moser Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 had the most pure, cassis-like, cabernet scent.”
The company behind the scenes
Changyu Pioneer Wine Company is China’s largest wine producer, as well as one of its oldest. The company is on a quest to develop European-style chateaus, which are based architecturally on Bordeaux-style chateau. Two of their wineries are represented by Berry Bros & Rudd. One is Chateau Changyu Moser XV in Ningxia. The other is Chateau Changyu Golden Ice Wine Valley in Liaoning.
There are six other wineries owned by the company. Combined with the other two and with the help of around 100 winemakers, the company makes an estimate 150 million bottles per year.
With the arrival of Chateau Changyu Moser XV, it seems China’s winemaking has once more reached a new height. In fact, the label’s competitor, LVMH’s Ao Yun, is also set to make its debut this season.