Moet Hennessy is to make red wine for the Chinese market after investing in a high-altitude vineyard in the Yunnan Mountains near Tibet.
According to French business magazine challenges.fr, the Champagne, Cognac and fine wine business has signed an agreement with VATS, a local wine and spirits business, to plant the 30-hectare vineyard in the south-west of the country.
Vines will be planted at an altitude of about 2,400m, the reports say, and the red wine, which will be released in four or five years’ time, will be destined for the domestic Chinese market.
Moët Hennessy’s move follows the investment of Domaines Barons de Rothschild – owner of Château Lafite – in a 25ha vineyard on the Penglai peninsula in Shandong province, announced in 2009.
Moët Hennessy is already extremely active selling Champagne, Cognac and fine wine in China, and also owns Sichuan-based white spirit or baijiu brand Wenjun, after acquiring a majority stake from owner Jiannanchun in 2007.
Yunnan has been a centre of grapegrowing for some 200 years, with Christian friars bringing vines from France in the mid-1800s for table grape production, Chinese wine expert Jim Boyce says on his blog Grape Wall of China.
According to Yunnan Red Wine, the major wine company in the region, some 2,600ha are planted to vine.
Written by Richard Woodard