AT LAST: LAFITE SET TO RELEASE ITS CHINA WINE IN SEPTEMBER
By David Ma
Chateau Lafite Rothschild’s China project, Domaine de Penglai, will release its inaugural vintage (2017) in September this year after more than ten years of preparation, according to Jean-Guillaume Prats, CEO of parent company Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR).
Prat revealed that the inaugural vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Marselan with a volume of 2,500 cases to be sold mainly in the Chinese market.
He also said 2017 was the first vintage they felt confident to release onto the market and previous vintages were sold for distillation.
Prat refused to reveal the brand name of their China wine, but The Wine Chronicle reported last year that Chateau Lafite Rothschild had registered a “ Dong Shan 東山 ” trademark with China’s Trade Mark Office.
It is highly likely that the inaugural bottles of Domaine de Penglai will be named “ Dong Shan 東山 ” , meaning East Mountain.
DBR started this China project in 2008 in the southern edge of Penglai city in China’s northeastern Shandong Province.
It was initially a joint venture with China CITIC Group until CITIC transferred their stake to Lafite last year “to focus on their core business”.
The registered trade mark, retrievable from China Trade Mark Office’s online database, has Dong Shan printed horizontally between two vertically arranged calligraphy Chinese characters.
The Chinese character 東 (Dong means East) is integrated into the "five arrows" symbol of DBR, while the character 山 (Shan means Mountain) is written in a way to resemble a mountain with three peaks.
Lafite’s project in Penglai has attracted many speculative talks since its inception in 2008.
First there were talks over a stalled early project, then over why they picked Shandong over the viticulturally more famous Ningxia region where the Chinese government has been encouraging wine companies with 50-year leases and the availability of grants.
The biggest question of all is why it was taking them so long to release their inaugural vintage. Fortunately, wine lovers will soon be able to taste Lafite’s Chinese wine after eleven long years of waiting.
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)
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