Sunday, August 30, 2009

Visiting Champion Dragon Winery (Guanlong) in Heshuo, China

(8/21/09) Champion Dragon Winery is located in a modern industrial looking building and produces 6000 tons, with most of it being sold off in bulk. They produce 10,000 bottles on their own, uniquely specializing in chardonnay and the unusual malvasia we tried the evening before. Pricing ranges from 80 to 200 RMB. They were harvesting the chardonnay when we arrived, and we noticed that they pick rather early – at 22 brix. Some of the grapes appeared to be slightly unripe, and we didn’t see any sorting. However, the chardonnay we tasted out of tank (after only 1 day of fermentation) was fresh, crisp with sharp apple and some citrus. It was simple and uncomplicated with no ML at this point; no oak; and no lees stirring. All of it was to be shipped in large tankers to wineries in other parts of China where it would be mixed into different brands, with perhaps some oak aging. They employ 20 full-time employees and 100 at harvest.

A unique feature of this winery were its floors made of marble in the tank rooms. Marble is another of the major products of the region (along with oil, coal, jade and gold mining), and it is used extensively in hotels and other facilities. It was beautiful, but as we were exiting, one of the Chinese officials slipped and almost took a nasty fall because the red marble floor was wet from winemaking cleaning procedures.

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