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Chinese Wine
Learn Chinese - History and Culture


Unlike Western wines, Chinese wine is distilled from rice, millet and other grains, as well as herbs and flowers. A wide variety of tonic wines (zī bǔ jiǔ 滋补酒) are made with traditional ingredients. The popular rice-based Yellow Wine, is best served warm. It tastes similar to medium-dry sherry (xuě lì jiǔ 雪利酒) and goes well with a wide range of Chinese cuisine, especially during the cool season. Gao Liang (gāo liáng jiǔ 高粱酒) and Mao Tai (máo tái 茅台) are fiery, millet-based distillations with an alcoholic content of 70 per cent. These are definitely best sampled after a hearty meal.


altThe origins of the alcoholic beverage from fermented grain in China cannot be traced definitively. A legend said that Yidi, the wife of the first dynasty's king Yu invented the method. Another legend says that liquor was invented by one Dù Kāng (dù kāng 杜康). At that time millet was the main grain, the so-called "yellow liquor (huáng jiǔ 黄酒)", then rice became more popular. It was not until the 19th century that distilled drinks become more popular.Traditionally, Chinese distilled liquors are consumed together with food rather than drunk on their own.

Jiuling Called in Chinese (jiǔ lìng 酒令)
At the very beginning, alcohol was mainly a beverage in the ceremonial rites. The drinking games, Jiuling called in Chinese, were just aids for drinking. Certainly there were other aids for drinking, such as archery, chess playing and arrow pitching.

Ancient Drinking Vessels
In different historical periods, due to the increasing development of social economy, the making technique, materials, shapes and designs of drinking vessels responded to the development and took on various shapes and designs hard for one's eyes to follow.


Primitive Beer in Ancient China ---"Li" (jiǔ lǐ 酒醴)
In ancient China, people consumed a kind of alcoholic drink called "Li" which was made from malted cereals. Li has been considered as a type of primitive beer in remote ancient times. After Han Dynasty or so, Li was substituted by rice wine made by Qu(qǚ 曲). Then, Li, due to its low alcohol content, was obsolete from the banquet and even nobody knew exactly how Li was brewed.

 Famous Chinese Wine

altGuizhou Maotai Liquor (guì zhōu máo tái 贵州茅台)
Maotai (máo tái 茅台) Liquor,the most famous Chinese liquor, a 55% spirit made of wheat and sorghum that, for centuries, has been produced in Maotai Town, Guizhou province, is honored the National Treasure in its kind. Maotai Liquor is as famous as Usquebaugh (wei shi ji 威士忌) of Scotland and Aquavit (bái lán dì 白兰地) of France -- the three are renowned as the Three Famous Wines in the World.

Fen Wine (fén jiǔ 汾酒)
Fenjiu in jade cups has the look of amber. Fen Wine has a long historical standing. According to evidences found in excavated cultural relics, the winemaking history of Fen Wine in Xinghua Village, Shanxi can be traced back to the prehistoric period of Longshan Culture over 4000 years ago. Fen Wine is a typical mild aromatic Chinese spirit featuring consummating technique and a long history. It has always been famous for its softness, sweetness and good lingering aftertaste.

Luzhou Laojiao (lú zhōu lǎo jiào 泸州老窖)
Like Fen Wine that has been famous for a thousand years, Zhuyeqing Liquor was also produced in Xinghua Village, Fenyang. It has enjoyed high reputation ever since the ancient times, when it was first prepared by distilling rice wine together with bamboo leaves. It also became an imperial wine a long time ago.

Jian Nan Chun (jiàn nán chūn 剑南春)
altThe Mianzhu Jiannanchun is produced in Mianzhu County, Sichuan. Famed as "the Hometown of Wines", Mianzhu County was so named because of its engagement in bamboo planting and wine making. The famous wine "Jian Nan Shao Chun" (early Jian Nan Chun) known far and near was produced as early as in Tang Dynasty. It's said that the famous poet Li Bai once sold his fur-lined jacket here for the wine, thus leaving our later generations a much-told story of "trading ermine for a drink".

Zhuyeqing (zhú yè qīng 竹叶青)
Like Fen Wine that has been famous for a thousand years, Zhuyeqing Liquor was also produced in Xinghua Village, Fenyang. It has enjoyed high reputation ever since the ancient times, when it was first prepared by distilling rice wine together with bamboo leaves. It also became an imperial wine a long time ago.

altDukang Wine (dù kāng jiǔ 杜康酒)
According to historical records, Dukang was the originator who distilled liquor out of grains during the Spring and Autumn Period. It's said that the site of his early winemaking activity locates at the Dukang Village in Caidian Township, Ruyang County. The spring here for making Dukang is crystal clear like green jade, with a flavor sweet and pure. Since Dukang was the originator of all winemakers, he has become the incarnation of all liquors today.

Wine Relieve Stress
More and more researches show that stress accounts for the deterioration of modern human’s health.Human’s ability to deal with stress used to be an important area of medical research. Recent research shows that frequent and moderate drinking of liquor, especially wine, is one of the effective methods of relieving stress. Drinking alcohol can also reduce the catecholamine which generates with stress occurrence. This helps to save people from stress. More researches demonstrate that stress is the main reason that oxygen-derived free radicals are produced in vivo, so moderate drinking of alcohol can inhibit and relieve stress so as to help people keep health physically and psychologically.


altWine and Weight-lose
As the quick development o f modern society,there apperas more healthy problems,among which being fat is one of the biggest .Wine can promote people’s appetite through stimulation of sensational organs especially taste buds. However, wine is abundant with vitamin B, especially vitamin B1 which can speed up sugar metabolism. Wine is also rich in flavodoxine and sulfide which can accelerate metabolism. So wine can help to clear up some fat resulting from lack of exercise and overeating.

 Medicated Liquor (yào jiǔ 药酒)
altMedicated liquor refers to a transparent medicated liquid obtained by using wine as a solvent to soak out the effective components of herbs.
Chinese people like to use precious medical material to make medical liquor, which can reinforce body fluid and nourish the blood.However, though medical liquor is good for the human body, it cannot be drunk superfluously. A frequency of 2 or 3 times a day with each dosage measuring 10 ml to 50 ml is proper for people.


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