Beijing Winery Tours Give Visitors Insight Into Local Industry

Wine Production Tours Allow Students, Businesspeople Opportunity To Meet Wine Experts, Sample Beijing Favorites

Changyu, a popular winery for wine tourists, is fighting to be seen as China's preeminent, and possibly first world-class, winery

Changyu, a popular winery for wine tourists, is fighting to be seen as China's preeminent, and possibly first world-class, winery

One of the interesting developments that has followed increased consumption of and appreciation for grape wine in China has been the spread of “wine tourism” around the country. Over the past few years, more tour operators have added winery tours both for Chinese tourists going overseas and international tourists coming to China, which have proven quite popular — leading China Daily to write a glowing review last September:

Yantai’s “wine culture” tourism has become one the most fashionable style of vacations for visitors to the northeastern Shandong province. The Changyu Wine Culture Museum plays host to more than 12,000 visitors from at home and abroad every day.

In the corridors of the Changyu Castel Chateau, tourists are able to sample fine wines, whilst enjoying its excellent sea views. It is fast becoming the favorite pastime of overseas visitors.

Hong Yuyan, general manager of the Changyu International Wine City, said: “The interest that overseas visitors take in the wine culture of our city is quite staggering. Over the past three years, the number of foreign visitors has doubled annually.”

Though most wine tours are organized by individual wineries themselves, lately tour operators have begun to incorporate this sort of tourism into packages as well. Other tour companies are looking to give visitors more of a hands-on experience with “wine production tours,” designed to show the inner workings of functional wineries in Beijing and elsewhere. The China Guide’s Beijing tour includes a tour of a Beijing winery’s production facilities and museum, along with a comprehensive wine tasting. According to a company spokesperson, this type of tour is designed to be somewhat academic, and is geared mostly toward students and businesspeople:

“We are always looking for new and interesting opportunities for our academic tours. The Wine Production Tour is special because most people don’t even consider wine when they think of China’s local industries,” says Frank Yang, The China Guide’s Sales and Marketing Executive. “We can introduce our student and business guests to an unexpected Beijing company who will provide insights and information from company experts. Concluding the company visit with a wine tasting is also a great way to relax and unwind after an academic tour, it makes for the perfect afternoon.”

Though these tours are mainly put together with international tourists in mind, it will be interesting to see if the growing numbers of mainland wine aficionados will be interested in similar production tours. At the moment, it seems like Chinese tourists mainly prefer vineyard tours like the ones described by China Daily. But that could change in coming years, as the Chinese domestic wine industry matures and quality approaches global levels.

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Food, Wine, & Spirits, Travel