Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Changyu Pioneer Wine Co. is China’s oldest and largest wine producer and, according to one independent analysis of 2010 turnover, was the world’s fourth biggest wine company. It was founded in Yantai, Shandong province, in 1892 by Zhang Bishi, an officer in the Qing government. He introduced vinifera varieties from Europe in 1896. The winemaker then was Maximilian, son of Baron Auguste Wilhelm von Babo, founder of the pioneering viticultural college klosterneuberg.

In the 1950s, Premier Zhou Enlai presented Changyu brandy as a diplomatic gift to the Geneva Conference delegates, recorded as ‘diplomacy of Gold Medal brandy’. Chairman Mao instructed Changyu to develop its wine production ‘so the people may enjoy a bit more wine’. Today it claims to have a total of 20,000 ha/49,400 acres of vineyard potential and an overall production capacity of 200,000 tonnes, much of it focused on basic and mid-market lines.