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Greece and China joint venture

Greece's Kir-Yianni and China's Mogao wineries have joined forces to plant the first Xinomavro vines in China

This is China’s first planting of a Greek grape, and the only Xinomavro for commercial purposes anywhere other than Greece.

The joint venture, Moen Estate, has raised ¥500m (US$74m) for the project, in Gansu province.

Mihalis Boutaris of Kir-Yianni in Naoussa told decanter.com the pilot vineyard will increase from 4ha next spring to 150ha over the next few years.

Meanwhile, Boutaris and Mogao’s winemaker will select and rebrand the best batches of Mogao’s current wine production.

Mogao currently produces 6m bottles from its vineyards near Wuwei in Gansu province.

Gansu has an alpine desert climate similar to that of northern Greece. Beijing-based consultant Edward Ragg, of China’s Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting, said it was one of China’s drier – and poorer – provinces, and would be ‘a better region for grape growing than Shandong’, where joint ventures such as the Lafite/CITIC project are based.

Boutaris thinks its combination of conditions could produce ‘above-average to phenomenal’ wines.

Plantings of another six varieties are planned, among them German varietals which Boutaris ‘will most probably thrive better up there’.

Mogao is a government-owned company listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. It produces malt, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, medicinal opium, and wine.

Wine contributes little to the company’s turnover, but that part of its portfolio has attracted some considerable investment, with ¥50m (US$7.4m) put into the new winery that was completed this year.

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Written by David Furer

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