Beijing project creates ‘Bordeaux in China’8th August, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
The Chinese government has opened a giant grape-related theme park near Beijing as a tourist attraction targeted at the country’s growing number of wine lovers.
The International Grape Exhibition Garden lies in Yangqing County, the agricultural region to the north west of China’s capital Beijing.
The venue opened at the end of last month in time to coincide with the five-day 11th International Conference on Grapevine Breeding and Genetics, which was hosted by the region.
According to wines-info.com, the garden’s deputy director Pang Rongnian declared an ambitious scope for this new venture, saying: “We want to build our own Bordeaux in China.”
So far the site consists of 750,000 square metres of vineyard and a 2,500 square metre greenhouse, which the project’s managers will use to house over 1,000 grape varieties from more than 40 countries.
Although the government has not disclosed the scale of investment in this venture, future development plans are said to include a museum dedicated to grapes and a series of grape sculptures commissioned from the Italian Archea Studio. There is also a hope that couples may use the gardens as a wedding venue.
Last year saw China leap into first place as the world’s biggest consumer of red wine at 155 million nine-litres cases annually, according to an IWSR report commissioned by Vinexpo. The same report claimed that the country’s red wine consumption has leaped by 136% since 2008.
While much of this consumption relates to domestically produced wines, a report this year by Wine Intelligence indicated that the number of Chinese consumers buying imported wine has doubled in the last three years to 38m.