Morrisons claims Chinese wine first

Morrisons is claiming to be the first UK supermarket to sell Chinese wine.

The retailer has added two wines from the north west of China to its portfolio: Silk Road Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay both retail for £5.99 and are 100% pure varietal wines.

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."

Eastwood added that Chinese wine "could take on the world if only grape-growing conditions were better".

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."

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, China's climate shows promise for Riesling, according to Woodrow. She added that, with quality continually improving, Chinese wine will be able to shake off its novelty image in the UK.

Bordeaux winemaker Fred Nauleau assisted in the making of the Silk Road wines, which are produced from an ethically-run vineyard and winery that is tended by local families with government support. Snow melt from the Tianshan mountains, which border the Taklamakan desert, irrigates the vineyards.

See OLN's interview with Arabella Woodrow MW:

Morrisons wine boss is a force to be reckoned with

Morrisons' BWS team

Licensed trading manager: Arabella Woodrow MW

Licensed trades director: Grant Eastwood

Senior wine buyer: Suzie Cornwell - Spain, France (traditional), South America, sparkling/Champagne

Wine buyer: Catherine Roffey - rosé, South Africa, Portugal, Germany

Spirits buyer: Mark Cox

Beer buyer: Fraser Lovett