Lafite to release its first Chinese wine in 2018

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) is reportedly planning its first Chinese wine release next year, a joint project between the French company and China’s conglomerate CITIC group in the country’s eastern Shandong province.

Lafite’s vineyards in Penglai on Shandong Peninsula (Photo source: DBR)

According to a report by Decanter, the Lafite China project, known as Domaine de Penglai, near the city of Penglai on the Shandong Peninsula will make its debut in autumn next year.

Founded in 2008, the winery is the third overseas project after DBR’s projects in Chile and Argentina, and has had five harvests already with 2016 being the best so far, according to the company.

“For past four years the vineyard manager from Lafite has been out there regularly showing how to prune and train the vines,” DBR’s CEO and president, Christophe Salin, told Decanter.

Continuing, Salin said that the project was “not romantic” but rather “scientific” and has included soil and climate studies and various other viticultural analysis, even down to whether ex-barrels from Lafite or Duhart Milon or Rieussec should be used.

The project has 25 hectares under vine, planted with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Syrah, 10% Marselan and 10% Merlot. Another 25ha will be planted in 2018, according to the report.

The annual production is estimated to be around 20,000 bottles, which will gradually increase to 120,000 bottles, Gerard Colin, the enologist who consulted on the project, told Chinese media.

About 90% of the wines produced from Domaine de Penglai will be sold in China’s domestic market, where Lafite is among the most known imported wine brands in the country.

Olivier Richaud, who worked for Château Beychevelle and Château La Tour Carnet in the Médoc, is in charge on the ground in China, together with Lafite’s technical director Eric Kohler and Olivier Trégoat, who oversees all the non-Bordeaux estates.

Other known estates in Shandong province include three of the country’s leading domestic wineries – COFCO’s Great Wall, Changyu Pioneers, Wei Long – as well as foreign-funded projects such as Château Nine Peaks.

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