Changyu launches 9th edition of Noble Dragon

China’s oldest winery, Changyu Pioneers, has unveiled the ninth edition of ‘Noble Dragon’, as two of the country’s biggest wineries – Changyu and Great Wall – are trying to revamp the image of Chinese wine with their flagship labels.

Sun Jian, general manager of Changyu, unveiling the 9th edition of Noble Dragon

The new edition includes three wines in the range, down from the eighth edition’s four wines, which are; ‘Noble Dragon Reserve’, ‘Noble Dragon Special Reserve’ and ‘Noble Dragon Winemaker’s Reserve’, said Li Jiming, the chief winemaker of the Shandong-based winery.

Calling the range an “upgraded” version, ‘Noble Dragon’ made from Cabernet Gernischt is among the first Chinese wines to be exported abroad. The company claims it’s now sold in 15 European countries.

At a press conference hosted in Shanghai, the company also announced plans to streamline the number of domestic distributors of its ‘Noble Dragon’ wine, which already decreased from 3,000 distributors to 1,730 in 2017. And for the ninth edition, the company further tightened its grip on distribution network.

“In the face of the ninth generation of Changyu ‘Noble Dragon’, only 507 licenses have been issued nationwide, which means that there are only about 30% of the dealers who are eligible to sell the ninth-generation Changyu ‘Noble Dragon’,” said its newly appointed general manager, Sun Jian.

But with more streamlined distribution network, the company is planning to bulk up its volume sales drastically in the coming years, up from the current annual sales of 30 million bottles to 50 million, said Sun.

Just this month, another state-owned Chinese winery, Great Wall, unveiled its premium wine range Chateau SunGod. Castle Li, head of COFCO’s Great Wall, revealed earlier this month his ambition to turn the wine into “world-class wine that could represent China”.

Compared with ‘Noble Dragon’ that sells between RMB 100 (US$15.6) and RMB 300 (US$46.7) a bottle, Chateau SunGod fetches around RMB 1,000 (US$156). The latter is not yet exported outside of mainland China.

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