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China’s Ningxia region launches wine contest

Up to 60 winemakers will have the chance to travel to China in September to learn from its winemakers and compete for a prize pool, as the second Ningxia Winemakers Challenge (NWC) is launched.

Tractor driving through vineyard in Ningxia

Applications for the winemaking contest opened this week, which will see winemakers given the chance to practice their craft by producing a wine from the region to compete for a prize pool of €120,000.

Co-organised by Ningxia’s Grape Industry Development Bureau and the International Federation of Vine and Wine of Helan Mountain’s East Foothill, the NWC is expanding on its 2012 project that brought winemakers from Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United States to the region in Northwest of the country, with 60 winemakers set to have their trip to the region funded.

Li Xueming, director of the Bureau of Grape Industry Development, said: “This time the region will fund up to 60 winemakers to visit Ningxia, nearly ten times as many as in 2012. This growth in the project mirrors the fast development of the Ningxia wine industry over the past three years.”

Speaking about the impact of the challenge on the region, Xueming added: “We see the NWC as an investment in our region and in our relationships with winemakers from all over the world. We know that building ties with people beyond our region will help make our industry stronger.”

Successful applicants will travel in late September to live for several weeks to select grapes, oversee fermentation, and learn about the region and its wine culture. Wines produced will be judged by an expert panel in 2017. Those in the top 10% will each receive a gold medal and 100,000 yuan in cash. Silver prize winners will be awarded 20,000 yuan. The organisers also plan to give each winemaker several thousand bottles of the wine that he or she produces during the challenge.

Last year’s judges included Mihalis Boutaris of Greece, Lilian Carter of Australia, Li Demei of China and Mireia Torres of Spain, as well as Liz Thach, a Master of Wine from the United States.

There are currently more than 50 wineries and 25,000 hectares of vineyards planted in Ningxia, most of which sit between the Helan Mountains to the west and the Yellow River to the east.

For more information on entering the competition click here.

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