Ningxia to pull out vines planted in nature reserve

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A total of 72 hectares of vines planted within the Ningxia’s national nature reserve area are set to be pulled out after this year’s harvest, in an effort to protect the ‘natural shield’ of the Helan Mountain East wine region, said Ningxia Wine Bureau.

Five local wine companies, which were originally assigned 3,437.8 hectares of land to plant vines and build wineries, have been asked to move their projects from the nature reserve around Yinchuan and the Helan county to the assigned ‘Helan Mountain East Wine Culture Corridor’ area, according to local newspaper Yinchuan Daily.


Area within pink borders: Helan Mountain National Nature Reserve
Blue area: The designated area for the ‘Yinchuan-Helan Mountain East Wine Town’
Credit: Official site of Helan Mountain National Nature Reserve and Google

Officials said that the move underlines their commitment to sustainable agriculture in one of China’s most arid wine regions.

‘The national nature reserve serves as a natural shield to the Helan Mountain East wine region,’ the Ningxia Wine Bureau told DecanterChina.com in response to the decision.

‘It protects the wine region from sandy storms and cold spells from the western dessert. It is crucial to the existence of the Helan Mountain East region and inseparable to the development of Ningxia wine industry.’

Among the five wine companies, Qishun Ltd has already planted 74 mu (5 ha) of grape vines.

Yunshan Ltd has rented out 910 mu (60.7 ha) of lands to Baisheng Wangchao Winery, and 96 mu (6.4 ha) to Leshan Winery. Both wineries have started to plant vines in the affected area. Baisheng Wangchao Winery started planting as early as 2014, according to local media.

The other three affected companies haven’t started to plant vines, said a Ningxia official.

The affected companies and wineries will potentially be given ‘appropriate compensation’ after a third party evaluation on the loss, Ningxia Wine Bureau told DecanterChina.com.

‘The decision won’t change our long-term target to develop one million mu (67,000 ha) of vines in the “Helan Mountain East Wine Culture Corridor”,’ said the bureau.

In 2016, after an inspection from China’s central environmental inspection team, the autonomous region was reported to have significantly reduced the size of the ‘Wine Culture Corridor’ and its ‘wine town’ construction plans so as to avoid damaging the nearby nature reserve.

(Editing by Chris Mercer)

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