Yunnan Region Wine Growing

Yunnan is on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the region being located at 219′2915′N and 9739′10612E. It is a mountainous region with many rivers and lakes with an average elevation of 2000 meters rising to 6740 m. This region has a subtropical zone plateau monsoon climate. Elevation and latitude has a great influence to the annual average temperature and is affected by the airflow from the Pacific and Indian oceans. Seasonal changes are noticeable in certain areas (Autumn leaves), but is mostly just a rainy and dry season distinction. November to April is the dry season where you get plentiful sunshine, less rainfall and great temperature variations between day and night. From May to October is the rainy season with most rainfall concentrated between July and September. During the rainy season there is less variation between day and night temperatures Annual rainfall for the region (depends on which part) ranges from 500-2800mm

Wine grapes are found in the Mile, Mengzi and Chenggong counties. The more refined varieties are mainly concentrated within the farming area of Dongfeng which is in the county of Mile. The distinctive feature of this county is its karst topography with most of land being mountainous with valleys containing flat areas. The soil is described as having high organic compounds and fertility. The average temperature is 17.38c with the lowest average temperature of December being 9.81c. The highest monthly average temperature is in July at 22.64c. This regions annual rainfall is 720.49mm with sunshine hours coming in at 2129.43hrs for the year.

Grape cultivation has a long history in Yunnan (French missionaries had something to do with this), but most of the production are table grapes. Recently dry red wine has become more popular with the local Chinese people. Two large wineries were founded in Yunnan, these being, Yunnan Gaoyuan Wine Co.,Ltd, Yunnan Shenquan Wine Co.,Ltd, Yunnan Gaoyuan and the Shangri La Wine Co.,Ltd.

Following on from the French Missionary history French wine companies 'got in early' and have established large joint ventures with these Yunnan Wineries.

Wineries now have many thousands of acres in production with varieties including Rose Honey, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Yan73, Italian Riesling and Chardonnay. The growing areas for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are largest.