A Canadian company is set to produce icewine in China in partnership with the Chinese government and a local company.

Vancouver-based Bravo Group has agreed with the Chinese government that it will produce and sell icewine in China and for possible export to other Asian countries. Bravo is the venture capital arm of Canadian wine company Saturna, which owns vineyards in Ontario and British Columbia.

Two vineyard sites of some 1,400ha will be planted next year near Wuchang in Heilongjiang province, in northern China. Under the terms of the agreement the land will be provided at no cost. Bravo’s partner in the joint venture – a Chinese company with experience of asparagus and fruit growing – will fund planting and cultivation costs and Bravo will provide the expertise and money for production and marketing.

Bravo president Larry Page told decanter.com, ‘The area looks a lot like the rolling hills of Sonoma. It is very fertile, with a climate that gets very cold in September and October, so it is perfect conditions for icewine.’

The Asian palate tends to be sweeter than in the west, and Page said his Chinese partners believe there is a market for icewine in China and neighbouring countries.

Until the plantings come on stream in four or five years’ time, the company will import icewine juice from Ontario and British Columbia, and vinify it at the new complex. Saturna’s winemaker Eric von Krosigk, will be in charge of winemaking at the facility.

Larry Page said the company was basing its venture on the financial and business model of major Canadian wine company Vincor International.

Written by Adam Lechmere10 September 2002