Ready, set, ‘jia you’: Ningxia Wine Challenge starts in China

Seven winemakers from five continents gathered in Yinchuan over the weekend for the start of the Ningxia Wine Challenge. The two-year challenge will see them not only use local grapes to make red wine and white wine that will ultimately be judged by 2014, but also exchange ideas with local winemakers and learn about Ningxia and its business practice and culture. The seven winemakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Benoit Beigner (France)
  • José Hernández González (Spain)
  • Penny Jones (Australia)
  • Patricia Miranda (Chile and New Zealand)
  • Eleni Papadakis (United States)
  • David Tyney (Australia)
  • Carl van der Merwe (South Africa)

Beigner and Gonzalez arrived in late August and have been busy doing everything from visiting vineyards to riding camels — though they have yet to do both at the same time. Three other winemakers accepted to the challenge were unable to attend due to personal or logistical reasons, although there are hopes of involving them at a future stage.

Note: “Jia you!” literally translates as “add oil” and is used as encouragement by sports fans for their teams, teachers for their students, and friends for each other. It broadly means “Do your best!” or, more simply “Go!

The first three Ningxia Wine Challengers to arrive pose with Mr Yuen of Yuen Shi Winery and Resort. From left: Jose Gonzalez, Mr Yuen, Carl van der Merwe and Benoit Beigner.

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