Chinese organic winery certified by EU

Chinese winery Xuan Yan in northwestern Xinjiang’s Yanqi county has become the first winery in the region to be recognised as an EU-certified organic winery.

Harvest at Xuan Yan

Harvest at Xuan Yan

Speaking to dbHK on the phone, the winery confirmed that its red, white and rosé wines produced from its 2,000-mu (about 133 hectares) vineyards have been certified organic by the EU this month.

The winery has been growing vines from its own vineyards in Yanqi, next to one of the region’s famous organic Chinese winery Tiansai, since 2009 but only started making its own wines in 2014. 

“We started growing our vines organically since 2009, and it will take sometime for the vines to mature and produce wines, so we waited until 2014, that’s our first vintage,”Zhao Yuxiang, winery chairman told dbHK, noting it doesn’t buy any grapes from local farmers. 

The 2016 harvest has been good, according to Zhao, and the new vintage will see the launch of two its new wines – a Merlot and another rosé – but Zhao stressed the winery is not in any rush to increase its production, and instead, it’s limiting its production to control quality. 

“We want to control our production, and we planted the vines only in 2009, and some vines are still struggling, so we are in the process of replanting some small plots as well,” he explained, adding that in the next few years when vines matured and reached their optimum times, the winery’s production will be able to reach 500 tonnes.

The winery primarily makes wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Marselan. Several wineries in Yanqi county have been certified domestically including Tiansai, Zhongfei, Han Hai and Yuan Sen wineries.

Yanqi, which lies in the basin of Xinjiang province in northeastern China, is one of the premier wine growing regions. Its 30,000 mu (2,000 hectare) vineyards in the region are hailed as a model for organic farming in China.

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