A formal agreement has been signed establishing a relationship between the leading wine producing regions of New Zealand and China.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has signed the ‘sister-region’ understanding with Xian Hui, Governor of Ningxia, China’s winegrowing region and now the fifth largest wine region in the world. Marlborough generates more than three quarters of New Zealand’s wine production and there is opportunity for the exchange of technology, expertise and wine education. Climatic differences mean the two regions are producing very different varieties with Ningxia focussed on Bordeaux-style red wine.
Mr Leggett says the formalised relationship will assist Marlborough-based wine technology companies to export to China and encourage Chinese students to travel to Marlborough for education and training.
“Ningxia’s more extreme climate means we’re not in competition because this is not an area that could produce sauvignon blanc but Marlborough has expertise, high-quality processes and standards, a strong environmental reputation and advanced oenological research which would all be of interest to China’s viticulture sector,” he said.
The Marlborough mayor and a small delegation travelled to Ningxia to sign the sister-region agreement. They have also paid a visit to the Pigeon Hill winery construction project in Ninxia where a Marlborough company, VinWizard, is installing its temperature control technology for the winery’s tanks. “It’s a good example of how the links we have begun building with Ningxia can help develop new opportunity for Marlborough’s winemaking infrastructure,” said Mr Leggett.