From Hell’s Hoogte to Helan

FT wine commentator Mrs. Robinson calls mountainous Ningxia, 800 km west of Beijing “the Chinese wine region with the most potential at the moment.” Almost exactly one year ago De Morgenzon winemaker Carl van der Merwe (who used to do the business on the Simonsberg at Quoin Rock) travelled to Ningxia to participate in the inaugural Helan Mountain Wine Festival.

IMG 4771 300x225 From Hell’s Hoogte to Helan

Today the inaugural Checkers Battle of die Berge will see 70 wines from the Helderberg and Simonsberg tasted blind at Muratie under the chairmanship of boland wine bobaas Danie de Wet. Or rather not see as the tasting is no Platter poppie parade but rather run scrupulously blind. Today Stellenbosch; next year Helan. Heck part of the Simonsberg is already called Hell’s Hoogte – a similar root to Helan, perhaps?

Rolling out today’s victors to Ningxia makes eminent sense as SA wine struggles to find an alternative to WOSA’s bulk export strategies. Helan would be a good place to start as the locals have an appreciation for mountain wines and Checkers is the partner with sufficient foresight to make it happen.