"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world," said Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist. This quote also implied how important wine was to the economy of France in the 19th century. When it comes to China, years of rising demand and changing appetites have made the country one of the world's largest wine markets.
Wine is an alcoholic drink made from different varieties of fermented grapes, and its alcohol content by volume is higher than beer but lower than Baijiu. In history, many famous poets used wine as themes and wrote some famous poems. Now, the alcoholic drink has played a significant role in people's lives for years and it's often shown up on some important occasions like wedding feasts and festivals.
Chinese wine markets
In light of the grape-cultivation and wine-making practices of European chateaux, the Chinese wine industry has gradually carved out a piece of the market, with China's eastern Shandong Province an important wine producing region.
From northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to some eastern coastal regions, every wine producing region has its unique flavor, which depends mainly on the species of grapes and the wine brewing time.
There are mainly four varieties of wine, namely red wine, white wine, rosé wine and fruit wines. Red wine has long been the favorite in China due to the fact that its color is regarded as a sign of prosperity. Meanwhile, the demand for red wine in the country has grown steadily in the past decade, with China overtaking France as the biggest consumer in 2014.
Today, wine is a normal part of everyday culinary and social habits in China. Drinking wine, the theory goes, can keep the blood vessels open and flexible, which could promote a good supply of blood to brain.
Changyu Wine Culture Museum
Founded in 1892 and located in Yantai City, Shandong Province, the Changyu Wine Culture Museum presents a rich history of China's oldest and western-style winery. Over the decades, it has developed as a wine brand known to the world.
The four-story museum features a 100-year-old wine cellar and some exhibition halls. Dubbed "the largest wine cellar in Asia," it stores about 600 oak wine barrels in 14 different standards. In addition, visitors can enjoy Changyu wine during their tour of the museum and take a wine-tasting course.
Today, the Changyu Wine Culture Museum is noted as a cultural heritage and is open to the public for wine tasting and knowledge sharing. The museum is undoubtedly a must-visit for tourists.
Address for the museum: #56, Damalu Road, Yantai City, Shandong Province, China
Transportation: Visitors can take bus line No.17, 3,N 28 to Changyu Museum Station from Yantai Railway Station.
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. from December to February; 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. from March to November