In Europe Chinese wine has not always had a great reputation. The type exported was not of the best. It was often said that the major mistake was that the winemakers ate the grapes first.
In fact, wine has a long and honourable tradition in China and some of it, especially the whites, is very palatable. High quality grapes were introduced into China and 200BC and Chinese grape wine (called putao jiu in Chinese) started about that time. Note that this was not the only wine. There were wines made of sorghum, millet, rice, and fruits such as lychee or ume. These are not to be recommended to the Western palate.
Recently, the wine trade in China has matured and, over the past decade, has produced white wine which is, at the very worst, very quaffable, at the best, truly excellent.
A French vintner named Alain Leroux arrived in China in 1996 with French grape vines and years of experience gained at various wineries in Burgundy, Alsace, and Côtes du Rhône. He claims that his wines stand up to those he helped produce in France, despite some hardships associated with China's colder winters.
These wines have started to be exported and, but of course, have met with the same early resistance of Australia, New Zealand, Chilean and Bulgarian wines. However, some critics have recognized a new frontier with the potential to yield some interesting finds. Others have simply taken notice that China is producing drinkable table wines that sell for $1-3 dollars per bottle compared than comparable wines from other countries.
Perhaps the real market for Chinese wine is in China itself. Though demand in China has not reached high levels, if it did, this market would exceed the rest of the world, simply based on China's population.
One of the largest producers of grape wine in China is the China Great Wall Wine Company Founded in 1983, it is headquartered in the Shacheng region, Huailai County, Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province. Its annual wine production is 50 thousand tons which is a fairly substantial output.
Now Chinese Vineyard Tourism has been launched by China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association.
The purpose is to show China's culture of vineyards and main vineyards' characteristics. These are the early days of the industry - beyond pioneering but a short way from total maturity - and such information tours will help it grow.