Frenchman's wine journey a grape tale

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-30 10:04
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Nauleau blends different varietals in the Tasting room. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Xinjiang is almost three times the size of France, and the region's diverse terrain, from barren desert to vibrant oases, from lush grasslands to towering peaks, captured Nauleau's imagination.

It was also the region's dry climate, abundant sunlight and unique potential for producing high-quality wines that convinced him to stay, he said.

Yet, Nauleau's journey had encountered difficulties: communication and teamwork were substantial hurdles to overcome.

As Nauleau barely spoke Chinese, he relied on translators to convey his work guidance, a process that often took days to complete.

He not only had to explain the methods of winemaking, but also the basic operations such as how to connect pumps and complete subsequent operations after the white grape juice has been pressed.

To streamline operations and foster better understanding among his team, Nauleau installed a table and a whiteboard between fermentation tanks.

"Not only can the operation instructions and methods be explained through translation (on the whiteboard), but also the winemaking and operation methods can be expressed more quickly and efficiently through patterns."

These tools allowed for quicker, more efficient communication, ensuring that no detail was overlooked during the peak fermentation periods, he said.

Nauleau was deeply impressed after the first pressing season together with the many young technical personnel who had just graduated and were making wine for the first time. During which time they communicated with foreign technical personnel from France and Italy, and slept in the wine fermentation workshop, surrounded by cardboard boxes and labels.

"Whenever I recall those days, I feel very happy because it was a manifestation of hard work and good friendship."

During his more than two decades in China, Nauleau has experienced and witnessed the rapid development of China's wine industry, from winemaking techniques to vineyard cultivation.

China's vast geographical diversity, with its varying climates and soils, has created more possibilities for the production of diverse wines, he said.

International exchanges have flourished, and Chinese wine brands have emerged in international competitions, he added.

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