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The New Queens of Wine

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China - Ningxia - A worker harvesting grapes in the Helan Qingxue Vineyard. Located 5 kilometres from the foot of the Helan mountains, the Helan Qingxue Vineyard is one of the oldest and best wineries in Ningxia. Its cabernet sauvignon won the International Trophy at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards and was instrumental in giving exposure to the Ningxia wine industry. Helan Quinxue’s wines are currently exported to Europe, Singapore and Macau.<br />
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Thanks to its high altitude, arid soil and cool, dry weather, Ningxia has been identified by wine experts as potentially one of the best wine producing regions in the world. The dry weather pro-tects the vines from bacteria and diseases and allows a significant reduction in the use of pestici-des.<br />
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All of the water irrigating Ningxia vineyards comes from the nearby Yellow River, one of China’s main sources of freshwater. <br />
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According to international sommeliers, Ningxia wine’s specificities are found in its minerality, spi-ciness and floral taste.<br />
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In order to survive the region’s frigid winter temperatures, which can drop as low as -27 degrees Celsius, vines are buried in November and unburied in spring. Between 3 and 5 per cent of them perish during this process. <br />
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During harvest time wineries rely on seasonal farm workers. Given the shortage of labour in the region, the local government relocated 120,000 people from the South of Ningxia in order to su-stain the local agricultural industry. Most of the labourers are Hui, an indigenous Muslim minority.