New project! World Marselan day honors Paul Truel and the grape he made. Plus, Ningxia's secret ingredient and dope wine from Huailai. Please forward this newsletter to those who might like it. Anyone can sign up here.
Grape Wall of China

Greetings from Beijing,

When ampelographer Paul Truel made Marselan in 1961, I doubt he imagined it would one day emerge as "China's grape". But as with Malbec in Argentina, Shiraz in Australiaz, and others, this looks increasingly likely. On top of that, Marselan is found in over 20 other nations, too!

For these reasons, I launched World Marselan Day today. It's set for April 27, Truel's birth date, but the site will provide a source of Marselan info year-round. More details below.

You'll also find more about Ningxia's secret ingredient, winemaker Zhou Shuzhen, who has 30-plus years of experience, including at Kanaan and Legacy Peak. About the dope Amethyard wine at a recent boutique tasting in Beijing. And about Jade Vineyard, yet another contender from Ningxia.

Also, there have been quite a few mentions of Grape Wall in the media lately, including in New York Times, BBC and Reuters. All of that is posted here.

As always, much appreciated if you pass this newsletter to others who might like it. And if you would like to support this project, see here.

Cheers, Jim Boyce
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Marselan élan

Marselan, a grape created by Paul Truel in 1961, took some to mature. Any hopes the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and yields and heat tolerance of Grenache would result in an instantly popular grape were dashed. It took until the 1990s, and an increasing focus on quality over quantity, for this grape to grab momentum.

Now it is found in more than 20 countries, from Argentina to Azerbaijan, from Serbia to Spain, from Chile to China, including all of the country's key wine-producing regions. The World Marselan Day website lists many of those wines, with bottle shots, as well as info on Paul Truel and the grape Marselan.

I understand there are many grape days, but I think they work for varieties with an intriguing and unfolding story to tell. That is certainly the case with Marselan. And certainly when it comes to CHina.

The goal on April 27 is simply to open a bottle of Marselan and raise a glass to Truel. If you do, please send me a photo so I can include it on the site! I'll also organize a Marselan event in Beijing that day.


Ningxia's secret

When the wine world talks of Ningxia wine, the most likely names to pop up include Emma Gao at Silver Heights (银色高地), Zhang Jing at Helan Qing Xue (贺兰晴雪) and Wang “Crazy” Fang at Kanaan (迦南美地). They ooze personality, are fluent in English, and make good wines. But there are many others who have played key roles and are little-known beyond non-Chinese language circles. Ranking high among them is winemaker Zhou Shuzhen (周淑珍). More about Zhou here.

Dope wine

A bunch of people asked me about Amethyst Manor Winery (怀来紫晶庄园), located just north of Beijing, after last Saturday’s China wine tasting at Pudao. Along with praising the wine quality, some were amused by the English name Amethyard, which they read as “A Meth Yard” and associated with a crystal meth / crack house. Yikes! Fortunately, the wine is good. More on this operation, which further underscores the strengths of the Huailai region, here.

Trio Tasting

Finally, Ningxia operation Jade Vineyard. I tried three of the wines with new rep Yanan Hao, who I know best from Nine Peaks in Shandong--that place inspired one of my favorite posts. A quick look at the Chardonnay and two Cabernet-driven wines here.
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Note: The content of this newsletter is general information. I make no guarantee as to its completeness or accuracy. Use it at your own risk. In other words, I try hard to be accurate, but mistakes can happen, so reader beware! Also, I'm not a fan of spam and aim to send this newsletter only to people who signed up at Grape Wall blog or agreed by email or in person to receive it. If you did not request it, but are receiving it, something has gone awry. You can unsubscribe at the bottom or let me know at grapewallofchina (at) Cheers, Jim Boyce
06 April 2018
Grape Wall covers China's wine scene. Winery visits, tastings, news, reviews, and interviews .Since 2007. Administered by Jim Boyce. Get the newsletter here.
E-mail me here.
Q&A. Check Grape Wall's sessions with wine people inside and outside China.
Back issues. Check out the most recent ones.

Issue 40
Ten points re the China's wine tariff, Penfolds Schmenfolds, What were Xi and Kim drinking?

Issue 39
Imports vs local wines, Bruno Paumard's "new frontier", Mike Gadd on Ningxia, China's "other" wine

Issue 38
South African Justin Corrans leads 15 medalists at Ningxia Winemakers Challenge

Issue 37
Lu Yang first master somm from China, Grace Vineyard turns 20, farewells to Patricio de la Fuente Saez and Mike Peters

Issue 36
Torres China turns 20, Grape Wall turns 20, 'Les Miserables' Chinese wine tasting

Issue 35
Have imports passed local brands? Plus Interwine Beijing and Spanish, Chilean & California wine promotion

Issue 34
Producers doubling as importers, Torres turns 20, the unimaginable wine region

Issue 33
Ningxia Botmobile, Million Bottle Wine Club, wacky labels, Shanghai retail with Alberto Fernandez, Campbell Thompson
Events. When we put down our wine and organize stuff.
Grape Wall Challenge
Chinese consumers are judges in this annual blind tasting.
China Wine Tour
The tour covered four bars, a Chinese red and white wine at each. Details here.
North by Northwest
Wine experts, chefs and journalists try Chinese wine. See here for the results.

Ningxia vs Bordeaux
Five wines from each region were blind-tasted by ten experts. The results were a bit controversial. Details here
I started World Baijiu Day in 2015 to introduce people to this nation's top drink, a grain-based spirit with over 10 billion bottles sold per year. The event is back with dozens of events planned in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney and other cities. Details here.
A Final Word

Grape Wall has covered China's wine scene since 2007 and requires time and money for hosting services, travel costs, and more.

Support it by telling people interested in China's wine scene about the newsletter and website.

By sending local wine news and tips to grapewallofchina (at)

Or by helping to cover costs through a Paypal donation here.

Thanks to those who have already helped Grape Wall.

Cheers, Jim Boyce
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