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Winery flows through town

China Daily by Zhao Ruinan04/09/2022  

Zheng Zifeng decided to build a winery resort town in Ningxia Hui autonomous region in 2020, as the area enjoys unique geographical for growing grapes and is well-known for its wine industry.

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"The young generation has greatly changed their minds on consumption. They are willing to spend money for better service, especially those born after 2000. They are enthusiastic about the wine and open to try something new," said the CEO of the Ningxia Dulaan Winery.

The Dulaan Winery Town project is set to open to the public in July 2023 and will boost the integrated development of grape planting, wine brewing, and wine tourism, said Zheng.

Ningxia's wine industry has grown rapidly in the past decade with its unique geographical advantages. The region embraced its first winery in 1984 and today it has more than 200 that produce around 130 million bottles a year for an industry valued at 26.1 billion yuan ($3.84 billion).

Zheng, who studied architecture at Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology in 1998, the spent some time abroad in 2003, then again studied urban planning at the University of Newcastle, and then went on to get an MBA degree.

Zheng is a fan of opera. He named the winery town after Turandot, a famous opera by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini in the 1920s. The drama tells of a love story which happened in ancient Asia, which was inspired by Orientalist fantasies and Asian culture.

"The opera is a fantasy that reflects what oriental culture looks like in western people's minds. By that time, westerners had never been to Asia. The play focuses on oriental elements, from clothing, and scenarios, to the traditional code of conduct," said Zheng.

Zheng said he named the winery town Dulaan, which has a similar pronunciation with Turandot and is also the word for warm in Mongolian.

"So, we began this winery town project this year and we want to introduce oriental culture and wine culture to the world," he added.

Located in the eastern foot of the Helan Mountain, the town is a key projection in the development of the grape and wine industry, with a planned area of 220.2 hectares and a total investment of 2.5 billion yuan.

It is estimated that the winery town would attract more than 100,000 middle and high-end tourists every year, bringing more job opportunities to the local people, as well as increasing their income.