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Home Silk Road Travel Guide Top 7 Wineries in Ningxia – the “Oriental Bordeaux”

Top 7 Wineries in Ningxia – the “Oriental Bordeaux”

One of the famous destinations on the Silk Road, Ningxia is located in the valley between the Yellow River and the Helan Mountains in northwestern China. It is considered one of the areas with the most potential for winemaking in China, known as the “Oriental Bordeaux.”

Over the years, the Ningxia wine industry has won many world-class honors. In the 2018 World Wine Competition, 183 wines in China received awards, 88 of which were made in Ningxia.

The French Wine Review magazine has rated Ningxia as a Chinese wine star production area many times. Even the famous wine master Jesse Robinson included Ningxia in his book World Wine Map.

The output of Ningxia wine in 2021 has exceeded 130 million bottles, with an estimated value of CNY 30 billion. Ningxia currently has about 146.7 square miles (38,000 hectares) of vineyards, which makes the second largest in China. Local grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Malbec, etc.

Ningxia Winery Grapes
Ningxia Winery Grapes

What Makes Ningxia the Best Wine Region in China?

Ningxia, especially in the Shandong foot of the Helan Mountains, is considered the “golden zone” for viticulture.

Ningxia has the perfect climate for viticulture with sufficient sunlight and warm temperature. The significant temperature difference between day and night results in slow ripening of grapes, balancing ripeness, acidity, and phenols in the fruit. It also has a vast area of land along 37°43’-39°23’ north latitude, which is ideal for viticulture.

There are about 200 wineries in Ningxia, and many of them have launched tourism projects including vineyard visits and wine tasting. If you’re a wine lover, here are some of the best wineries for your trip to Ningxia, the Silk Road.

 

1. Helan Qingxue Winery (贺兰晴雪)

Helan Qingxue Winery was established in 2005. The name Helan Qingxue refers to one of the eight ancient wonders of Ningxia. It means that even in summer, the peaks of the Helan Mountains are capped by bright snow.

Helan Qingxue Winery has introduced 16 varieties of French wine grapes, with a plantation of over 159,000 square yards (133,000 square meters), an underground wine cellar of 1,200 square yards (1,000 square meters), and an annual production of 50,000 bottles of wine.

The signature wine is the Jia Bei Lan Reserve series which has won numerous awards in international and domestic competitions, most famously the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

Address: 650 feet northwest of Western Xia Plaza, Xixia District, Yinchuan City (银川市西夏区西夏广场西北200米)

Ningxia Helan Qingxue Winery
Helan Qingxue Winery

2. Silver Heights Winery (银色高地)

In 2010, wine master Jesse Robinson discovered “another new star in China’s wine industry”, the Silver Heights Winery. The vineyards of Silver Heights are 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, and are one of the highest in China. The winery has two sites, both available for visits with prior arrangements.

The owner, Ms. Gao Yuan, or Emma Gao, worked at a French winery and obtained the French national winemaker certificate. When she came back to Ningxia to establish her own winery, Silver Heights also adopted the traditional French winemaking method.

The most famous highest-end wines of Silver Heights Winery are The Summit and Emma’s Reserve. The quality of their wine is so well-regarded that two bottles of Silver Heights wine were served to Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, at a Chinese state dinner in 2016.

Address: Jinshan Village, Helan County, Yinchuan City (宁夏回族自治区银川市贺兰县金山村)

 

3. Domaine des Aromes (博纳佰馥)

Domaine des Aromes is one of the very rare wineries in China that is dedicated to making biodynamic wine. The owners are a couple, Peng Shuai and Sun Miao, studied viticulture, wine tasting, and international trade in France.

Biodynamic wine is entirely dependent on the grapes themselves. To test Ningxia wine, the couple first brewed the 2013 natural wine with minimal intervention. After this success, they improved step by step, and finally achieved zero sulfur addition.

Among the three signature wines, “Bona Baifu” is aged in 100% oak barrels, while “Baifu” is aged in smaller percentage barrels, and “Fu” is completely additive-free.

Address: West Beijing Road NO.1855, Yinchuan City (宁夏银川市北京西路1855号)

Ningxia Domaine des Aromes Winery
Domaine des Aromes Winery

4. Xige Winery (西鸽酒庄)

In October 2019, Xige Winery became the first winery in China to pass the high standards and earn the certificate, “BRC International Quality Certificate.” It produces 10 million bottles annually.

Xige Winery conveys its concept of winemaking in its architecture. It is a huge circular building with an area of 29,900 square yards (25,000 square meters). It is a successful blend of characteristics of an ancient Chinese city and modern curves. Built with nearly 200,000 Helan Mountain stones, it gives off a shocking sense of high technology, like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Technology is central to Xige’s projects. There are screens in the building displaying real-time data on everything from soil chemistry to grape growth. On the site, apart from world-class wine-making facilities, you’ll also find a tasting center for visitors, an organic restaurant, and the Jade Dove Hotel.

Address: Xige Road NO.1, Gezi Mountain, Qingtongxia City, Wuzhong City (宁夏吴忠市青铜峡市鸽子山西鸽路1号)

Recommended Trips:

Ningxia Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting in Xige Winery

5. Kanaan Winery (迦南美地)

Kanaan Winery sits at the foot of Helan Mountain in Ningxia. It was founded in 2011 by the German Chinese Ms. Wang Fang. She was born into a wine family. Her father, Mr. Wang Fengyu, was one of the pioneers of the Chinese wine industry. It was under his influence that Wang Fang returned to Ningxia in hopes of revitalizing the Chinese wine industry and starting her winemaking career.

Because of her innovative winemaking style and her disregard for the traditional rules, Wang Fang is nicknamed “Crazy Fang” in the industry.

In just a few years, the wines produced by Kanaan Winery have gained an international reputation. Most notably, the Kanaan Riesling is considered a significant success in Ningxia winemaking. In 2019, Wang Fang was listed as one of the ten most influential women in the Chinese wine market by the British wine magazine Drink Business.

Address: West Side of Xixia Square, West Beijing Road, Xixia District, Yinchuan City (宁夏银川西夏区北京西路西夏广场西侧)

 

6. Domaine Pushang (蒲尚酒庄)

Domaine Pushang joined the game early in Ningxia’s wine boom. Run by a young couple, it is best known for its marselan, a hybrid of grenache and cabernet sauvignon grapes engineered by French scientists in the 1960s.

The couple was the first to recognize the potential of marselan in Ningxia’s unique environment. They started growing it back in 2009 before others had caught on. Marselan has a deep purple color with hints of sweet vanilla and ripe berries. It has been ranked in the top ten Chinese wines of the year and praised by renowned critics Jesse Robinson, Bernard Burch, and Ian D’Agata.

Address: Zhenbeibao Town, Xixia District, Yinchuan City (宁夏银川西夏区镇北堡镇)

Ningxia Domaine Pushang Winery
Domaine Pushang Winery

7. Chateau (Zhihui) Yuanshi Winery (志辉源石酒庄)

The name Chateau Yuansh means born of stone, and it is easy to see why. The fortress-like architecture of the winery is designed after the châteaux of Europe. Built from the stones left behind from mines and quarries that once littered the nearby Gobi Desert, this winery is literally a reincarnation of the region’s past.

The winery was established in 2008 and quickly became one of the earliest developers of wine tourism in the area. Their famous product, Soul of Mountain, is a structured and concentrated cabernet sauvignon. Its quality has been acknowledged by the industry experts Decanter.

Address: Zhenbeibao Town, Xixia District, Yinchuan City (宁夏银川西夏区镇北堡镇)

 

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