China – Luxury liquor producer Moët Hennessy is diversifying into the Chinese wine market, with its first red vintage produced near the Himalayas.
The idea for a Chinese vineyard, which was conceived by Moët Hennessy chairman and CEO Christophe Navarre, has come to fruition with the production of a limited number of bottles of the vineyard’s first vintage.
The location near the famed city of Shangri-La was chosen after several years of research for both its altitude – 8,530 feet (2,600 metres) above sea level – and because it is virgin terroir. The proximity of the vineyard to the Mekong river affords the grapes, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, ample sunshine during the day and a cool atmosphere at night.
The initiative, which totals 30 hectares of land, has been divided into 320 plots of vines and has integrated the local workforce by creating jobs harvesting the grapes and assisting in production. The press release from LVMH, parent company of Moët Hennessy, states that the approach was ‘guided by this artisanal culture with a deep respect for nature’.
In 2013, Moët Hennessy established a Chandon sparkling wine facility in China’s northern province of Ningxia, but this marks its first venture into red wine in the country. While other brands, including Château Lafite Rothschild, have also established red wine vineyards in China, Ao Yun is significant in both the quality of the vintage and the sense of narrative that has been woven around its geographical origin.