Climate and Grape Growing
Hebei lies in the northeast of China, spanning 6 degrees of latitude between 36°N and 42°N, bordering Bohai Bay of the Yellow Sea to the east, Yan Mountains lying in the northern part. It borders Liaoning to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanxi to the west separated by Taihang Mountains, Henanto the south, and Shandong to the southeast.
Beijing （39.94°N）and Tianjin （39.13°N）Municipalities, which border each other, were carved out of this province in the north. Most vineyards in Hebei province are located around the same latitude as these two municipalities, which can be divided into two main sub regions: the mountainous region of Huailai to the north-west of Beijing and the coastal city of Changli to east of Beijing.
Despite the proximity to the Bohai Bay, the climate in Hebei is more continental than maritime. Hot, humid summers are followed by cold, dry winters that are subject to freezing winds from Siberia. Affected by the East Asian Monsoon, a weather system that brings cool, moist air from the Pacific and Indian oceans and causes rain when collides with warmer air over the continent, rainfall is heavily concentrated in summer, making fungal diseases a particular problem in the late summer and early fall in the vineyards.
Located at the same latitude as Bordeaux of France and California of America, around 40°4’10”°N-40°35’21”°N, Huailai is claimed to be the “Hometown of Wine in China”.
Lying in the shadow of the Great Wall in the hills that surround Beijing, with several rivers and streams flowing into the Guanting Reservoir , Huailai has a variety of landforms including mountains, rolling hills and rivers, lying at an altitude between 394m to 1978m. Different altitudes have formed varied microclimates in different regions, rendering a favorable geographical condition for the planting of different varieties of grapes. The soils are rich in minerals and with good drainage.
This region has a continental monsoon climate, greatly moderated by the Guanting Reservoir and the mountains. Besides, the Yan Mountain shelter the vineyards from the moist air from the southeast, resulting in a relatively drier summer and more hours of sunlight. In winter, vines have to be buried in the earth for warmth and protection from the freezing Siberian wind.
It was in this region that the first dry white wine of China was produced and it was also in this region that the GreatWall, a subsidiary of the state-owned COFCO Group and the country’s largest wine enterprise was founded. The Sino-French Demonstration Vineyard was also planted here in the late 1990s as a joint venture between the French and Chinese governments.
Main grape varieties in this area are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot，Cabernet Gernischet，Chardonnay and Riesling.
Most vineyards are located in the town of Changli， Qianhuangdao City, bordering Bohai Bay to the east, with Yan Mountain in the north. Though lying in the coast, this region has a continental climate. Affected by the moist air from the sea, there is a high humidity during the growing period, increasing the number of sprays needed to combat disease and rot.
Vineyards are planted on differing soils. First are the vineyards on low mountains and rolling hills to the north that have brown soils with a great amount of sand. Second, there are vineyards in the central and south, with infertile sandy soils. Finally, the vineyards on the eastern coast have light loam soils.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Longyan and Chardonnay are also planted in small volume.