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Morrisons to sell Chinese wine

Morrisons has started to sell Chinese wine – the first UK supermarket to do so, according to the retailer.

Morrisons has introduced two wines from the north west of China to its stores. Silk Road Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which both retail for £5.99, have been made with the help of a Bordeaux winemaker and are produced from an ethically run vineyard and winery tended by local families with government support.

Grant Eastwood, Morrisons’ licensed trades director, believes China has the potential to make wine that can compete with the world’s best-selling wine-producing countries, such as Australia. ‘With their technology and ability, combined with a couple more years’ experience in this industry, they’ll be producing more excellent wines. They remind me of Australia in the early 90s, when they started to put down vines.’

However, trading manager Arabella Woodrow MW described China’s climate, which is very dry with high summer temperatures, as, ‘difficult for grape-growing’, adding, ‘I’m amazed they can grow grapes at all.’ That said, she believes China’s climate shows promise for Riesling as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. ‘With quality continually improving, Chinese wine will be able to shake off its novelty image in the UK,’ she said.

Asian wine’s reputation has been growing internationally recently. A few weeks ago a wine from Taiwan won a silver medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2008. The award, which went to Love Rose, a wine produced by the Taiwan Premium Agricultural Products Development Institute in Nantou County in central Taiwan, is the first ever to be won by a private winery in the country.