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“The Chardonnays are expressive with good varietal character, the reds from Ningxia are quite black, solid with a balanced structure; while the ones harvested from vineyards in Shanxi always show its delicacy and finesse. Both are still showing a little abrasive at the moment, but the rough edge should be rounded with time in barrels,” Lee explained.


Although reporting good quality for its Chardonnay, Merlots and Cabernets, the winery noted the higher-than-average rainfalls in July (over 100mm) led to a few diseases. Several of its vineyard blocks were affected, although there was no comment on this year’s production size.


Earlier as dbHK reported, production in a few major wine regions in China all reported losses. In Xinjiang province of northwestern China and Hubei province in eastern China, production is expected to drop as much as 30% in some areas, and Ningxia will see a drop of 5% due to this year’s poor weather.


This year, Chardonnay benefited from August’s smaller amount of rain and cooler weather compared with July, which helped, “to preserve the fresh fruit characters and acidity prior to the harvest,” according to the winemaker.


Another of its grapes, however, Aglianico, suffered from under-ripeness, due to rain and high soil moisture, he added, noting its quality level should be the same as 2012.


The veraison for the reds was later than usual, caused by high soil moisture and insufficient ambient temperature. As a result the winery started the leaves’ removal earlier to maximise warmth in the bunch zone, said the winemaker.


The weather in October turned out to be mild and cool with very little rain, this saved the Cabernet, the winemaker continued, noting they were able to harvest at “optimum ripeness”. Some of the grapes will be reserved to make its 2017 New Year wine series. 


Founded in 1997, Grace Vineyard, the first family-owned boutique winery in China, is mainly making wines of Bordeaux varieties but recently was experimenting with Shiraz, Aglianico, Marselan.  

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