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Cizhong: Life is as sweet as wine

Updated:2021-08-31 16:59:10   Yunnan Tourism and Culture Times

Editor's note: 

In Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Cizhong is a village situated in the valley of the Lancang River. Quiet and beautiful, the village had received a constant stream of backpackers who in turn spread its fascinating stories to the outside world. Nowadays, as infrastructure improved, more tourists come, boosting local economy. Hong Xing, a Cizhong villager, set up a courier station along the hiking routes to provide food and transport services for hikers. He is now a tourist guide, boss of an inn and wine brewer.

The Cizhong Catholic church left behind by French missionaries (Photo courtesy: Diqing Radio and TV)  


Cizhong: Life is as sweet as wine 

Hidden in the Hengduan mountains , Cizhong Village was once secluded from the outside world and locals suffered from the backwardness and poverty. Home to ethnic groups like Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi and Han, Cizhong boasts a long history, a profound culture and beautiful landscapes. In recent years, tourism booms in the village as more visitors have come. Hong Xing, 44 years old, has been one of the first villagers to try tomatoes in developing rural tourism.

Back to more than 150 years ago, Cizhong must have been proud of its openness. In the mid-19th century, French missionaries first visited the village, bringing French grape varieties and western wine brewing skills. After leaving Cizhong in the 1950s, the missionaries left behind a Catholic church where rose-honey grape was cultivated.

In 1997, Hong Xing’s father transplanted the rosy grape from the church and started the family brewery business. Every time when talking about the family-brewed wine, Hong projects an image of breezy confidence. “We don’t use any additives. Our brewing skills were taught by a nun who was then over 90 years old. And I also got trained by French winemakers. ”

 “The rose honey grape is a special variety. Brewed in traditional ways, the wine is mellow and sweet. Its aroma lingers on your tongue for a long time, ” said Hong Xing seriously. Each year, they can only make less than 2,000 bottles of wine, so the supply always falls short of demand. As a local wine-brewing master, Hong Xin never hesitates to teach the skills to villagers. “My father once said the best skills shall benefit all the villagers, ” he said.

Now, wine making has become a pillar industry of the village, almost every household is involved in the business. When the brewing season comes, aroma will permeate in the village. Between the Lancang and Nu river valleys sits the Biluo Snow Mountain, a famous tourist destination. And on the route to the mountain, Hong built the Hongxing Courier Station where food and transport services are provided.

Now, Hong Xing has played many roles in the village, like tourist guide, boss of inn and wine maker. From May to September each year, when grape trees are growing in the valley, he provides tourist guiding services for hikers. “Maybe in other people’s eyes, my hometown is remote and secluded. But for me, it’s a vibrant village with beautiful mountains and rivers. ”

Every time when there are tourists visiting his house, Hong Xing would treat them with his family-brewed wine. “I wish more people can taste our mellow wine and enjoy the beautiful scenes of my village,” he said.

Writing by Shi Guanglin and Miao Chao, Trans-editing by Zu Hongbing

Keywords:   Diqing Cizhong grape wine