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Moët Hennessy’s Chinese Wine, Ao Yun, Makes U.S. Debut

September 13, 2016

Moët Hennessy is launching its China-sourced prestige wine, Ao Yun, in the U.S. market this week. Sourced from China’s Yunnan Province, the 90% Cabernet Sauvignon-10% Cabernet Franc blend is described as a cross between “a Ribera del Duero and a great Napa Cabernet,” according to Jean-Guillaume Prats, president of Moët Hennessy’s Estates & Wines division.

While pleased with the results, Prats tells SND that the remoteness of Ao Yun’s vineyards—which are located near the Tibetan border, five hours away from the town of Shangri-La—makes for numerous technical and logistical challenges. Consequently, output will remain relatively small. “We made 24,000 bottles of the 2013 (the first vintage),” he says. “We hope to reach 50,000 bottles once all the vineyards are planted, but that will take years.” Moët Hennessy expects about a 50-50 split between domestic Chinese sales and exports for the new brand.

For the first vintage, Ao Yun is being imported to the U.S. in an allocation of 500 cases. Retailers including Sherry-Lehmann, Calvert Woodley, K&L, Wally’s and Wine.com have been selected to handle the wine, which carries a suggested retail price of $300 a bottle. —Daniel Marsteller

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