Yunnan Region 云南

This far south-western province has a long history of producing wine, with a hardy local hybrid variety and the Rose Honey grape, which is believed to have been lost in Europe during the phylloxera epidemic of the nineteenth century. This grape was a legacy of Catholic missionaries, and was preserved in a churchyard in Cizhong village, Deqen County – a small village by the Lancang River (the upper reach of the Mekong) near the Tibetan Plateau. In the vicinity of Cizhong, the low latitude, combined with high-altitude mountainous terrains, gives rise to more favourable vine-growing conditions similar to that of a continental climate, with ample exposure to sunshine and cool nights that give concentration, flavour and good acidity to the grapes, and a mild winter. The soil here is mineral-rich and imparts unique characters to the wine. The logistically challenging terrains, however, do not lend themselves to large-scale production, but are more suited to small parcels of enterprises. The scattered plots are mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, and also some Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.