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Buoyed by a burgeoning middle class, wine consumption in China has been growing at double-digit annual rates. To help slake the thirst, a number of domestic makers have begun to market local wines that are entirely drinkable—and sometimes quite a bit better than that. In particular, vintners in the Shandong province, on the East China Sea, have earned praise for quality riesling and chardonnay, as well as an oddball local varietal, cabernet gernischt, a descendant of cabernet franc vines imported 100 years ago.
Shandong's luxurious travel amenities are part of its attraction, such as Chateau Junding's Mediterranean-style 86-room hotel and manicured golf course, or Treaty Port Vineyards' stately (but entirely faux) Scottish castle and ceremonial dining hall. Seeing the area's postcard-ready châteaux and trellised vines, you might think you're in Alsace, Bordeaux, or the Loire Valley. Perhaps that shouldn't come as such a surpriseone of the biggest names in French wine, Château Lafite Rothschild, recently started its own winery in Shandong.