Lafite Plants Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in Shandong Province
June 27, 2011
Most of those who taste Chinese grape wine do so in China itself, where local demand outstrips consumption. Chinese wine will reach a wider market, especially since Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) is planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah vines in that country. The famed French winemaker has acquired a 62-acre property on China's Penglai Peninsula in Shandong Province, which is about 300 miles from Beijing, and has an ancient history of viticulture. Archaeologists from Shandong University have dated the origins of Chinese grape wine back more than 4,600 years. Shandong Province is the top wine producing region in a country whose total production in the first quarter of 2011 has been valued at 1.14 billion dollars.
Says Baron Eric de Rothschild, who took over the management of Lafite in 1974, "I am very pleased to develop a vineyard in a country where the interest in fine wines is increasing every year. It is particularly exciting to participate in the creation of an exceptional Chinese wine."
Lafite has been working on the project since 2008, in partnership with CITIC Group, a state-owned investment company of the People's Republic of China. They hope to have a winery building constructed by the end of next year, and the first wines released in 2015. France's Moët Hennessy, among others, also plans to make wine in China.