Ceramic decanter – the new vogue for Chinese wine lovers?

Ceramic decanters may be the new must-have for Chinese wine enthusiasts, said a Ningbo-based wine merchant who recently had one made using methods that can be traced back a thousand years.

Decanters, glasses and natural corks are among the many ceremonial elements of wine culture that fascinate Chinese wine enthusiasts.

Like many wine lovers in China, merchant CHENG Shengliang has a collection of glass decanters.

But, now his interest in ceramics has inspired him to combine wine with a historical symbol of Chinese culture.

Image: Ceramic Decanter, credit WBO
Image: Ceramic Decanter, credit WBO

The ceramic decanter, 40cm tall and light blue in colour, was made using an ancient method which replicates that of ‘Ru official ware’, an extremely rare type of Chinese pottery from the Song dynasty (960-1679), said Cheng.

This type of pottery was rare at the time because it was extremely hard to make; only one attempt out of 100 might be successful.

Making the vessel in the shape of a decanter adds more difficulty to the process.

As a result, the ceramic decanter cost over 100,000 RMB (11,000 GBP) to make, said the owner.

Cheng claimed that the use of ceramic may help to speed up the aeration of wine, and bring out more complex aromas, although this remains a subject of debate. Cheng hosted a tasting to compare wines decanted using the ceramic decanter and a normal glass decanter.

One possible reason for a different might be the interaction between negatively-charged tannins in the wine and the positively-charged surface of the ceramic decanter, said Denise Cosentino, oenologist and lecturer at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University of China, who was present at the tasting.

Written by WBO / Yang Zhengjian

WBO (Wine Business Observation) is one of the leading wine media in China, with currently over 145,000 active users following its WeChat channel. Its key readers include Chinese wine merchants, importers, distributors and retailers.

(Editing by Sylvia Wu, Chris Mercer)

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