Yanqi: China’s unknown organic wine region

With a population of just 120,000 (small by Chinese standards) Yanqi in northwestern China could be dismissed as a forgotten outpost of the bygone Silk Road. But this small town is making a comeback, thanks to the organic ambitions of its winemakers.

Map of Xinjiang

Map of Xinjiang (photo credit: Virtual Maastricht McLuhan Institute)

Located on the southern side of Nanjiang Basin, south of Urumqi – the capital of Xinjiang – the region measures 2,570 square kilometres and is particularly suited to organic winemaking, Chen Lizhong, owner of Tiansai Vineyards – one of the region’s leading producers – told dbHK.

Winemaking began in Yanqi in 1999, with the region largely devoid of agricultural activity prior to this, meaning that it has not come up against any significant pest invasions. This, together with its ample sunshine and dry conditions, which further prevent the spread of disease, makes it “a unique and natural organic farm land,” said Chen.

Established in 2010, Tiansai was among the first wineries in the Yanqi to go organic and has won international and domestic awards for its wines.

Speaking of the 2016 vintage, Chen said production had dropped compared to the previous year due to a tornado that hit the region during the harvest period, but added that its Cabernet Sauvignon, Marselan and Chardonnay was promising. Tiansai’s total wine production in 2016 was around 700 tonnes.

However Chen is not the only one advocating organic farming methods in Yanqi. Last year the small town was hailed as a model for organic farming nationwide by the Ministry of Agriculture after 30,000 mu (2,000 hectares) of its vineyards were certified organic by the ministry.

Turnover from its winemaking sector was expected to surpass 30 billion RMB (US$43.3 billion) by the end of 2015, although the latest figures have not yet been revealed.

Leading wineries in the region, including Tiansai, Xuanyan, Xiangdu, Zhong Fei, Han Hai and Yuan Sen, have already been certified organic by the ministry, while Xuanyan recently became the first in the region to be certified organic by the EU.

One Response to “Yanqi: China’s unknown organic wine region”

  1. K G Gayle says:

    Why is it so common that when you report on these interesting wines, you don’t actually tell us where to obtain them???
    Where can I (reliably) obtain them in China?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Stock Controller & Product Manager

Mr Wheeler (The Wine Company (UK) Ltd)
Langham, Colchester, UK

Buyer - Spirits & Beers

Harvey Nichols
London, UK

Supply Chain Assistant

Speciality Drinks
Park Royal, London, UK

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks
Park Royal, London, UK

Gin Buyer

Craft Gin Club
London (Fitzrovia)

Customer Service & Operations Administrator

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
London, UK

Customer Service Advisor

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Sales Account Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales and Brand Manager

The Duchess Virgin Gin & Tonic
London, UK

Prosecco Springs

London,United Kingdom
26th Apr 2018

Spirits & More

Rome,Italy
19th May 2018

db Awards 2018

London,UK
23rd May 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more