Ningxia Winemakers Challenge to unveil winners next week

The Ningxia Winemakers Challenge (NWC) is set to announce the winners of the competition next week, after 48 winemakers from 17 countries took part in a lengthy, two-year contest to try their hand at making the best wine in China’s premium wine region Ningxia, known as ‘China’s Bordeaux’.

The competition, organised by the International Federation of Vine and Wine of Helan Mountain’s East Foothill and supported by Bureau of Grape Industry Development, selected 48 candidates out of more than 140 applicants hailing from Australia, Argentina to Italy, India and South Africa to Sweden to produce the best quality Cabernet they could.

During the competition, each candidate received a three-hectare parcel of grapes in a collective 18-year-old vineyard to make a Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Each vintner has returned at least once to check on the vineyard.

A panel of judges led by Ma Huiqin, a China Agricultural University professor, and Andrew Caillard, associate producer of wine documentary ‘Red Obsession’, will evaluate and give out five Gold medals (RMB100,000 / US$15,000 each) and ten Silver medals (RMB20,000 / US$3,000 each).

The competition first started in 2012 was set up to fill the knowledge gaps in Ningxia, a rapidly growing region that has won more than 150 medals in international contest, as well as to introduce diversity aside from Bordeaux blends.

Ningxia has some 40,000 hectares of wine grapes—many on reclaimed land—which is about a third of the area cultivated in Bordeaux and double that of Napa Valley.

There are 187 registered wineries. While the most famous are near the Helan Mountains west of Yinchuan, others range about 100 kilometers to the north and south.

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