Shaoxing huangjiu wows expats
Shaoxing huadiao wine. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Wang noted that another reason why huangjiu from Shaoxing is considered the best in China is because of the water used in the crafting process.
Jianhu Lake, the main source of water used to make the wine in the city, is fed by 36 streams formed by high-quality mountain springs, and the lake's water is more conducive to yeast fermentation, he explained.
For locals, huangjiu, which is known for its distinctive amber color and rich taste, is more than an alcoholic beverage for casual drinking. The aromatic spirit, which is aged in earthenware vats, sometimes for decades, is usually reserved for special occasions.
The locals would traditionally age the wine in their cellars in preparation for future celebrations like the birth of a new child and weddings. Huangjiu drunk during a daughter's wedding banquet is called nyuerhong, or "daughter red", while those reserved to celebrate a son's graduation from college is called zhuangyuanhong, or "scholar red".
The technique of crafting floral motifs on bottles, which is called huadiao in Shaoxing, has also been listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage item. The motifs found on wine bottles vary according to the occasion.