Determined to ignore any of our misplaced oenophilic inclinations, when we first heard about Central China’s recently opened vineyard, we were chomping at the cork to learn more.
Nestled in the dimple of Xi’an’s Jade Valley, the eponymously entitled winery is set in the county of Lantian, beneath the shade of the Qinlin Mountains. Balmy in summer and snow-sprayed in winter, Jade Valley offers an inimitable taste of Provence en Orienté.
The latest project from world-renowned architect Qingyun Ma, Jade Valley was built with the aid of 12 local Lantian craftsmen. A winery-cum-hotel-cum-spa, the venture is an elegant encapsulation of China’s revitalised creative attitude.
Comprising of the winery itself (which produces an astonishing array of wines including a chocolaty Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and a blackberry laced Pinot-noir) Jade Valley also incorporates the small, cubic Wine Dorm hotel and its centrepiece, the Well Hall Hotel; a tastefully rustic hideaway perched amid the vines.
Despite the rather uninspiring grey brick exterior, Well Hall’s dilapidated barn aesthetic does not lack certain charms. It is the interior however, where the Hall really comes into its own.
With mahogany polished ceilings, glassy stairwells, smooth stone flooring and intricate jade embellishments – Well Hall and the surrounding vineyards provide those with more inquisitive tastes a chance to indulge in this relatively uncharted side of China.