‘I am enjoying every day! ‘ Wrote Lenz M. Moser yesterday. I could feel his excitement from 7500 kilometers.
As you might all know, Moser family is the pioneers of producing and promoting Grüner Veltliner in Austria. I am sure winemakers, viticulturists and wine students are especially familiar with Lenz Moser training system in viticulture. Well, Professor Dr. Lorenz Moser III has developed this high culture training in 1920’s. His son started the Lenz Moser Winery and his grandson Lenz M. Moser has worked there as a managing director for many years and created TXB International with his partners with a great fine wine portfolio. I had the chance to meet him more than a year ago, during his project with Turkish Wines. Today, he is in China, in one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine markets in the world. This year he is spending the harvest at Chateau Changyu Moser XV. Since the day I’ve met Lenz M. Moser, I’ve always admired his ability to foresee the upcoming trends and the way he takes action before many others do. He is certainly a man with vision, who has gone to China 11 years ago to export his wines and came back with the idea to export Chinese Wines to the world!
I have been reading about his journey in China through Meininger’s WBI and through German TV. I couldn’t wait for him to come back to Europe to hear more and I dropped him an email. He was very kind to answer all my questions enthusiastically. Here is the current news from Ningxia:
You have always been travelling to China for business or as a consultant over the last decade. However, this year you are spending the whole harvest at Chateau Changyu Moser XV. How would you describe your experience so far? Any details you haven’t discovered during your shorter trips?
- China is a great country– and we in Europe have no idea, repeat no idea, how advanced this country already is! And yes, of course there is not one China it is 100 China’s – given the size of the country and its population. It is a beautiful country too. My wife said: “ honey let’s live here!“ and she is German….
- People are very friendly, helpful and respectful.
- People are very educated in their professions and second to none in the world. Only English is not widespread. BUT who in Europe speaks Chinese AND people know considerably more about Europe than we know about China. I have no idea where this European arrogance in this regard comes from – ignorance, I guess!
- China is the new country of opportunity. Especially if you are willing to make an effort, AND learn Chinese. Talked to a Chilean CEO of importing here in China.
- „Speed“ in everything is breathtaking – wow! And this is why „wine“ is getting so popular: wine brings a certain slowness to life, makes life better, people relate to wine as a new lifestyle. Wine is all about the good life and this is sinking in with people here. Also, and again, people learn very fast.
- In wine, China IS the next big thing to happen, it happens now. From 2016 onwards a whole new generation of wines will be hitting the market – for the first time we will be tasting wines belonging in the company of the world finest – especially from Ningxia. There will be about 10 Chateau fighting for the best in Ningxia and therefore for the best of China as Ningxia is the top spot here (compare Napa vs USA, Bordeaux vs France etc.) And Chateau Changyu MOSER XV might have the edge – being the best, from what I have tasted so far:–) It will be the top 2013 vintage to be released by all Ningxia producers. But for an entire brand architecture with 5 wines in 3 tiers (Chateau Grand Vin, Chateau Second Vin and Chateau Troisième Vin Red, White, Rosé) Chateau Changyu MOSER XV will have definitely the edge and grab the Nr One spot AND WILL GO GLOBAL WITH IT!
What kinds of changes have impressed you the most in the Chinese Wine Market over the last decade?
- Consumption went up from 250 ml to 1500 ml
- Wine knowledge is grown phenomenally
- White is gaining traction and rose is just being introduced.
- Wine as a beverage is being democratized – meaning the biggest middle class population in the world (108 mio people, the USA is nr 2 with 92 mio people – by definition income of 50.000 USD plus) is discovering wine as their alcoholic beverage of choice.
- AND overall the development of Chinese Wine Industry is breathtaking, when you see all the investment going on in Ningxia. (50 chateaux built in the last 5 years, 25 in the making and 25 more in planning…), When you see the investment Changyu is taking alone in Yantai – 2 chateaux to be opened next year, new bottling storage center with 5 brand new krones bottling lines, a tech center, a wine trading center, etc. total investment 600 mio Euros…
What are the challenges you have been facing in winemaking at Chateau Changyu Moser XV? (In terms of natural or human factors…)
- All is available.
- Now is the time for fine-tuning.
- Grape sourcing and grape supply has to be „organized“ and planned ahead.
- New paradigm for making world-class wines (wines belonging in the company of the worlds finest) has to be created. Passion for excellence at every level of the chateau. But again, it will happen very quickly.
- Post fermentation control is essential.
- And bottling needs to be done under new QC standard.
- The marketing approach definitely needs a new world model, combined with good European tradition.
Have you already planted some Grüner Veltliner in China and if yes, have you had any results yet?
- No Gruner yet, however, Ningxia is ready for white plantings – 90 % red at the moment, but as the shift to whites is inevitable we shall explore the route also
It can’t wait to taste the following vintages of Chateau Changyu Moser XV in the following months and speak more with Mr. Moser. As he says, ‘It is bud break in Ninxgia now’ and we have to ‘stay tuned!’