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BBR gives Chinese wines permanent shelf space

UK merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has given four Chinese wines, including three ice wines, a permanent slot on the shelves of its London shop.

Changyu’s Moser Château in Ningxia

The wines, from Château Changyu, will go on sale at between £19 and £65 a bottle and include a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from Ningxia province and three ice wines from Liaoning.

The three ice wines are made from Vidal and have been frozen naturally on the vine.

The Black Label icewine is the most expensive of the quartet. The red is priced £39 a bottle. The winery is one of China’s oldest, founded in 1892. Consultant and distributor at the moment is Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser and his company TXB International.

Mark Pardoe, MW, Berry Bros. & Rudd wine buying director: “It seems that the predictions we made in our ‘Future of Wine Report’ in 2008 are already beginning to come true – and this is a first step towards serious international recognition.

“China is already the eighth largest producer of wine in the world so it was only a matter of time before it entered the international market and its huge geographical size and range of climates mean that there must be regions capable of producing good wine.

“Until now the country’s focus has been on its volume-driven domestic market, and other export efforts have been based on external investment. Changyu’s strategy represents a change, with home-grown investment in partnership with international expertise, with a real will to get things done, so the time felt right to take an early temperature of the water.”

Pardoe recently told the drinks business that he was keen to include more esoteric wines in the merchant’s portfolio.

He concluded: “While this may be a small selection of wines, they are a sign of things to come. Chateau Changyu has led the way in bringing in expertise from the Old and New World wine makers and is creating some top-class wines. However, there will be other winemakers hot on their heels and we expect to taste wines of great quality from more Chinese producers. Amongst the so-called ‘new New World’ wine regions, China is definitely in the ascendant.”

The Chinese wine region is growing exponentially and they are increasingly looking to export as well.

The LIWF will be hosting its first Chinese winery at this year’s fair.

The country is now the eighth largest wine producer in the world and is predicted to be the sixth largest by 2016.

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