Frenchman's wine journey a grape tale

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-30 10:04
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Nauleau checks on grape ripeness in a selected vineyard. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Along with his agricultural technology team, he carefully assesses the ripeness of every batch of grapes to determine the optimal harvesting date.

He also works with his team to study the taste preferences of the consumers and to blend the taste they want. In the wine cellar, he consistently tastes the wine and monitors the aging conditions, the delicate control allows each bottle of wine to become the best it can be.

The wine produced in the Northern Piedmont area of the Tianshan Mountains is well-rounded and has good color and aroma due to climate and soil factors, he said.

"Wine not only needs to satisfy the taste of consumers, but also should have the characteristics of the place of origin."

Nauleau's enduring commitment and endeavors have led to the company's wines winning hundreds of honors in competitions both domestically and internationally, including 240 awards.

These honors are recognition and affirmation of the quality of Chinese wine, he said.

His efforts were also honored when he received the Chinese government's prestigious Friendship Award in 2010.

The award is bestowed on foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China's modernization and the promotion of exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries.

"The honor gave me great encouragement and motivation," he said, adding that it has made him more persistent in making the best wine in China.

Nauleau grew up in the wine-centric Loire Valley region of France, where his grandfather and uncle were grape growers and winemakers. He spent much of his childhood and adolescence in the vineyards, which instilled in him a deep interest for wine and winemaking.

His passion for the fragrance and his interest in biological science led him to study agricultural engineering in Bordeaux, specializing in grape planting and winemaking.

After graduating, he engaged in research at prestigious institutions like the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and the French Institute of Vine and Wine in the late 1990s.

In the summer of 2000, he learned of an opportunity with a Chinese wine company seeking an experienced winemaker.

Inspired by the ancient Silk Road, Nauleau packed his bags and embarked on a life-changing adventure, arriving in Xinjiang just two weeks later.

"For me, Xinjiang is a surprising and charming place. When I first came here, I fell in love with the region at first sight."

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