Ten Ningxia wineries, China's tariffs on U.S. wines, a 19th-century wine dinner, plus the summer's best posts. All in Grape Wall newsletter. If you know others who'd like the newsletter, please pass it on.
Greetings from China,

Where Chardonnay is being picked, one of Beijing's top wine spots just closed, and hordes of trade people are about to descend on Ningxia and will hopefully get off the beaten path to tell us something new.

Many people are back from holidays so I've included the most recent Grape Wall posts followed by what I think are some of the summer's best.

As usual, it takes time and money to create content, so please consider supporting Grape Wall. Even a small donation via Paypal or WeChat helps offset hosting, domain name and other costs. C'mon, someone has to go first, right?

Cheers, Jim Boyce
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Ten Ningxia Wineries

I did a three-day tour of Ningxia in May, with stops at Pushang, known for its Marselan, and Aromes, for it focus on natural wine, before joining writers from England, Germany and Switzerland for eight stops organized by Changyu-Moser XV. A whirlwind tour of wine, food, music and more. Check out my report, with five photos for each winery, here!

U.S. Reality Check

Quite a "sky is falling" media report this week about China's tariff on U.S. wine. Thing is the market for imported bottled wine doubled in China over the past seven years yet the U.S. shipped less here in 2017 than 2011. If a months-old 15 percent tariff is a crisis, what was the past decade? See my take here on the tariff and how rising nationalism is arguably a bigger threat than rising prices to U.S. wine. And my take here on U.S. sales struggles in China this past decade, part of a larger Vines and Wines piece I wrote.

So Long Press Release

One joy in my wine life has been taking visiting trade people to Beijing bar Press Release for peanut butter-infused Bourbon served on crushed ice, topped with Sangiovese and garnished with a bunch of mint. Sound gross? Maybe, but it tastes good, and it was fun to see expressions go from doubtful to delighted when trying it. Unfortunately, Press Release closed this week and that means one less wine-centric place in a city already thin with them.. Details here.

Century Club

Want to taste a Chardonnay made just after England squeezed Hong Kong from China via the First Opium War? Or a Château Lafite-Rothschild made during the 1860s when European missionaries were fermenting religion in Yunnan and planting vines they brought from home? Check out this Hong Kong dinner in October that features 14 European wines from the 19th century. Details here.
And here are stories from earlier in the summer:

In a pig's ear. What happens when four experts vehemently disagree over whether a wine is a perfect pairing for spicy pig's ear or perfectly faulty? A tale from a Beijing contest.

The full Ponty: After doing law and business degrees, Helene Ponty moved to China in 2012 to sell her family's Bordeaux wine and has since visited 60 cities, done thousands of ganbeis and learned lots of lessons.

Rawson's Retreat advances: With media reports of a glut of lower-level Aussie labels in the market, I check my local supermarket and also ask Wine Australia's David Lucas about the possibility of a "Yellowtail effect" in China.

60 months, 60 photos: The stunning Changyu-Moser XV winery in Ningxia turned five years old so I sorted through hundreds of photos from my visits and picked the best.

Also see posts about Penfolds plans for a wine and baijiu product, Grace Vineyard going public, Simone Incontro's new directions for Italian wine in China, and the recent partnership between TWE and giant baijiu producer Luzhao Laojiao, plus my new page with fake, fun, odd and old wine labels seen in China.

Finally, a familiar question is popping up again: "Why isn't China a top-five wine producer when it is second only to Spain for vineyard coverage?" The answer is here.

Follow Grape Wall on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Support Grape Wall with a Paypal or WeChat donation. Email me at grapewallofchina (at)

Note: This newsletter content 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. Cheers, Jim Boyce
31 August 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: grapewallofchina (at)
Fun, fake, odd, old
Check out my new page of curious wine labels seen in China. From Marx to Lafite, from the head-scratching to the historical.
World Marselan Day
Grape Wall launched this project on April 27 to honor the grape's creator, Paul Truel, and shine a light on a variety found in dozens of nations and across China.
Wine Word

 Check Grape Wall's Q&A sessions with wine people inside and outside China.
Back issues
Issue 43
TWE teams with baijiu giant, wacky China wine labels, Changyu-Moser XV turns five, experts split over faulty wine
Issue 42
Building a family brand in China, Grace's IPO, Rawson's Retreat advances, Simone Incontro
Issue 41
Paul Truel & World Marselan Day, Ningxia's secret weapon, Amethyard's dope wine
Issue 40
10 takes on China's wine tariff, Penfolds' dodgy competitors, state booze picks
Issue 39
Imports top local brands, Bruno Paumard's new wines, Mike Gadd on Ningxia
Issue 38
South African leads 15 medalists at Ningxia Winemakers Challenge
Events. When we put down our wine and organize stuff.

Grape Wall Challenge
Chinese consumers judge in this annual blind tasting.

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

China Wine Tour
Four bars, a red and white wine at each. More 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 blind-tasted by ten experts. The results were a bit controversial. Details here
World Baijiu Day
I started this project in 2015 so more people could try China's national booze, a grain-based spirit with 20 billion bottles sold per year. Dozens of cities host events each August 9. See here.
Grape Wall has covered the China wine scene since 2007 and requires time and money for hosting services, travel costs, and more. Help support it with a contribution through a Paypal or WeChat.
Cheers, Jim Boyce
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