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China now has its first Demeter certified winery by NATALIE WANG12/09/2023  


Silver Heights, the boutique family winery in China’s northwestern Ningxia province, has become the first Chinese winery to be certified biodynamic by Demeter, world’s leading certification body for biodynamic agriculture.  

The certification was specifically for the winery’s agricultural production the winery announced through its WeChat. This is the latest recognition for the winery’s organic/biodynamic endeavors after it obtained organic certificaitons from Chinese authorites and the EU.

Speaking to Vino Joy News, winery owner and winemaker Emma Gao was elated about the result and said it was a result of six years of hard work to convert its entire 70 hectares of vineyards into biodynamic viticulture.

“Biodynamic viticulture is a holistic ecosystem and in the past five years we made a lot of improvements and changes to finally obtain the certification,” said Gao.

Emma Gao making biodynamic preparations (pic: Silver Heights)

Founded in 2007 by father and daughter team, Lin Gao and Bordeaux-trained Emma Gao, Silver Heights is recognized as the country’s first generation of quality-driven wine producers making well-crafted wines, using mostly Bordeaux blends.

The Yinchuan-based winery makes up to 200,000 bottles a year from entry level Last Warrior, its flagship The Summit to haute premium Emma’s Reserve, and most recently its natural wine releases including Jiayuan and sparkling wine Bloom.

The winery’s pursuit for biodynamic viticulture was kicked into high gear after Gao’s trip to France visiting some of the country’s top biodynamic producers. In 2017, the winery started the conversation and the following year the Demeter application process.

Climatically, Ningxia’s dry continental weather with less than 200 ml rainfalls a year also provides a competitive environment for organic farming, free from fungal disease. China’s burgeoning organic farming has its pilot scheme in the province, and a few local wineries are also following suit.

There are a growing numbers of wineries practicing organic winemaking. Other wineries in Ningxia including Chateau Changyu–Moser XV in Ningxia and Domaine des Ar?mes are also practicing biodynamic farming but so far only Silver Heights is certified biodynamic by Demeter.