In the over 120 years since its founding, seven generations of Changyu winemakers have contributed to its winemaking expertise and tradition. Changyu has been engaging excellent winemakers from other countries since the very beginning and building upon combined efforts of Chinese and foreign winemakers to stay abreast of internationally advanced winemaking techniques. To date, Changyu boasts a world-class team of over 100 Chinese and foreign winemakers, who have carried on her centenary winemaking tradition and presented winelovers with wines which integrate the time-honored winemaking expertise of China and other countries and boast unique fine flavors.
An Elite International Team with Expertise Handed down through Generations of Winemakers in Changyu’s Centenary Development
The First Generation
Represented by Max von Balboa
The first generation of Changyu winemakers, represented by Max von Balboa, turned into the reality the dream cherished by the founder of Changyu- “making various fine wines by west winemaking techniques.” Serving as Changyu’s winemaker from 1896 to 1914, Max von Balboa, Baron of Austro-Hungary from a renowned winemaking family, was then the consul of Austro-Hungary to Yantai. It is by his efforts that Changyu’s initial wine and brandy production techniques were formulated and carried out, and under his direction that fifteen types of wines, including Riesling, Red Rose, Traminer, Yeguangbei (Luminous Cup), Sweet Hock, etc. and Gaoyue and Keya Brandy products, four of which won gold medals and the prime quality certificates in the Pacific Panama Fair of Nations in 1915.
The Second Generation
Represented by Chang Zizhang
Serving as Changyu’s winemaker from 1916 to 1931, Chang Zizhang, grandnephew of Chang Bishi, was the first Chinese winemaker of Changyu. Recomposing the Brandy ingredients, he created a new type of Changyu Specialfine Boulard featuring a special taste. With Muscat as the main raw material, he made a ruby-colored red wine rich in bouquet and mellow with a balanced sweet and sour flavor. Drawing on Chinese traditional medicated winemaking techniques, he added over a dozen traditional Chinese medicine materials such as cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron to white grapes and concocted Vermouth, China’s one and only flavored wine up to now.
The Third Generation
Represented by Badisidocci
Badisidocci, from a famed Italian winemaking family, was the foreign winemaker who, serving as Changyu’s winemaker from 1931 to 1948, spent the longest time working for Changyu. He made a lot of innovative efforts, which improved Changyu’s production techniques of wine and brandy. In cooperation with Chang Zizhang, he refined the blending of Changyu Specialfine Boulard and greatly upgraded its quality.
The Fourth Generation
Represented by Zhu Mei
Zhu Mei, who graduated from Pasteur Institute of France with a major in winemaking, served as a winemaking specialist in Changyu from 1934 to 1945. He also served as the deputy manager of Changyu Pioneer Wine Company. A fact finding mission to eight western countries enabled Zhu Mei to access and master the cream of western winemaking, and later to solve an array of technical problems faced by Changyu, bringing about an overall elevation of Changyu’s vineyard management, winemaking equipment and winemaking craftsmanship. Thus, as an outstanding representative of China’s first generation of winemaking experts, Zhu Mei laid a sound foundation for China’s winemaking techniques.
The Fifth Generation
Represented by Chen Puxian
One of New China’s first generation of female winemakers, Chen Puxian graduated from the Department of Fermentation of Shandong Agriculture University, and worked in Changyu from 1953 to 1993. As the deputy chief engineer of Changyu, she took charge of the establishment of Changyu’s central lab devoted to the R&D of Changyu’s Jiebaina dry red wine. She was the leading expert in improving Changyu’s Jiebaina recipe and its production techniques and upgrading its quality to international excellence. In 1987 Changyu Cabernet won a gold medal in the 25th Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.
The Sixth Generation
Represented by Wang Gongtang
A postgraduate specialized in biology from Shandong University, Wang Gongtang served as Changyu’s winemaker from 1993 to 1999. He used to be a chief engineer of Changyu and secretary-general of China Alcoholic Drinks Association Wine Sub-association, and is currently a fruit wine evaluation judge at national level. In 1979, he led his technical panel to make Changyu Sparkling Apple Wine successfully, which was on a par with the best products in the world, filling a technical gap of China’s winemaking industry. In 1984, he made a breakthrough and produced Changyu’s XO level high-end brandy, which represented the highest level of China and won the gold medal for quality products of the world awarded in Athens, Greece, in 1988.
The Current Team
Li Jiming has been serving as chief engineer of Changyu since 1999, with a doctor’s degree and the professional title of professor-level research fellow. A member of national wine tasting committee，he is among the first winemakers awarded with the honor of “China’s Wine Master,” and has been invited as an international wine tasting judge by OIV and two other authoritative wine organizations. In March 1999, he took charge of establishing the technology center of Changyu Group. In December 2002, the center was rated by the then State Economic and Trade Commission as a national-level enterprise technology center. Under his leadership, the center has for many times won awards for scientific and technological advancement and taken out patents for invention at national and provincial levels. Li is mainly specialized in R&D and quality control of grape-growing and winemaking (brandy and sparkling wine). Currently he is vice chairman of Chinese Horticultural Society Vine and Wine Branch; deputy director of the Wine Expert Committee of China Food Industry Association; a Master’s Supervisor of School of Bioengineering, Jiangnan University; and a specially appointed professor of Yantai University. His book Oak Barrels- Cradle of Wine won “Best Wine Books” award in Paris International Gourmet Book Fair and Gourmet Cooking Competition in 2011.
Buchonnet has been serving as the first winemaker of Chateau Changyu Castel since 2002. The Frenchman has an advanced certificate in viticulture, a national winemaking expert certificate, and a top award by Bordeaux Winemaking Association. He has established the specialized chateau winemaking standard system for Chateau Changyu-Castel, which has guaranteed its wines world first rate quality.
Milan, a famed Canadian ice-wine maker, has been serving as the chief winemaker of Liaoning Changyu Golden Icewine Valley Chateau since 2006. Under his direction, Changyu Golden Valley Ice Wine won 2011 Decanter World Wine Award managed by Britain’s Decanter magazine, which is the first award an Asian ice wine has won in the competition.
Other than the honorary master of Beijing ChateauChangyu AFIP Global, Tinlot also holds other titles, such as honorary president of OIV, and honorary president of Université du Vin. He served as OIV president for 11 years, during which he played an important role in OIV’s awarding the title “International Vine and Wine City” to Yantai, the only Asian city that has won such a honor up to now. With a friendship with Changyu budding in 1987, Tinlot later became the honorary master of Chateau Changyu AFIP Global. He has given a full play to his global vision and rich winemaking experience to give valuable guidance over such work as chateau construction, grape growing and picking, fermenting, and storagein oak barrel.
Zhang is now the winemaker for Changyu Keya Brandy, who has been the only brandy maker awarded with the honorary title “China’s Wine Master.” and is currently. He is an applied research fellow, a member of Expert Committee of China Alcoholic Drinks Association Fruit Wine Sub-association, a fruit wine evaluation judge at national level, and a specially appointed expert by the State Center of Quality Supervision and Inspection over Grape Wines, White Spirits, and Fruit Wines. Over the past 27 years, he has been devoted to research of brandy making technology, product development, and production management. In his pursuit of both inheritance and innovation of tradition, he has won many awards for scientific and technological advancement and taken out national level patents for invention. He has created a research system of core techniques for high-grade brandy, which has boosted China’s brandy making techniques to a new level. In recent three years, the high-grade Changyu Keya Brandy series have won seven awards successively in the three top international wine competitions including Brussels International Wine Competition.
Fagnoni from France has served as the chief winemaker for Beijing ChateauChangyu AFIP Global since 2006. A former OIV winemaking technical expert, he has under his belt over 20 years’ of winemaking experiences in France. As AFIP’s chief winemaker, Fagnoni, by combining Changyu’s centenary winemaking tradition with his winemaking experiences accumulated in France, has improved AFIP’s ten major winemaking techniques to push the quality of its wines to a near perfection.
Lenz Moser has been the chiefwinemaker of NingxiaChateau Changyu Moser XV since 2013. He is the fifteenth-generation inheritor of the famous Austrian Moser family, which boasts a 400-year winemaking history. His grandfather, who invented the technique of growing grapes on pergola, which let the grapevines “stand up”,has been referred to as “father of modern viticulture”. Moser has merged the advantageous natural conditions of Ningxia with his family’s centenary viticultural experience to have produced high quality wines with unique flavors characteristic of NingxiaChateauChangyuMoser XV.
Reina has worked as the chief winemaker of Shaanxi Chateau Changyu Ruina since 2013. He, who comes from a reputed Italian winemaking family, with a history dated back to 1525, has also served as a director of Italian Wine Making and Exporting Association and a director of Sicily Viticulture and Winemaking Association. Under his direction, Shaanxi Chateau Changyu Ruina has created its unique technique of barrel-changing brewing process, which, on the basis of the grape quality of a specific year and the features of the brut wine, chooses suitable types of oak barrels and their combination to brew elaborate wines with more abundant and multiple aroma.