It was a wonderful start to October for us – Zach and Heather took us out for the day to celebrate Justin’s 30th birthday. This was their gift to him (one of Justin’s 30 gifts for his 30th birthday), and it certainly was well-enjoyed! Knowing that we love wine tasting, they took us to a winery, founded by Michael Parry and partners in the 1980’s, and located 25 minutes out of central Qingdao at Nan Long Kou, Beizhai. Huadong Winery’s picturesque scenery is the perfect place to relax, dine and enjoy the local wine.
China ranks seventh in the world in terms of wine production by volume, and produces more wine than Spain and Portugal combined. Red wine is the dominant choice of Chinese drinkers. Even though Qingdao is world famous for its Tsingdao beer, the Huadong Winery is quickly replacing Qingdao on the map as a serious wine region. This winery enjoys similar coastal mountain climates as California’s Napa Valley.
The Mosby’s packed a picnic basket for us to enjoy in the afternoon, but for the first part of the day, we were set to taste some wine and then go on a tour of the winery. We watched a video presentation about the history of the farm, and production of wine in Qingdao. After that we were led to an indoor patio-type area, pictured above, to try three Huadong wines, and listen to a bit of information about the grapes. It was really relaxing… enough to make us not want to get up and go for the tour. Could we sit here all afternoon trying wines?
There were a number of Chinese people on our tour too, and they had plenty questions so the four of us – English speakers – hung around at the back of the crowd, doing what we love best. Playing the fool, taking our time, and snapping up pictures of the surroundings. Who came here to be serious anyway? Not us, that’s for sure!
Here are some pictures of our tour of the winery…
After our tour of the vineyard, we settled down under an umbrella for a picnic on the grassy area at the front of the main building… with a couple bottles of wine, of course! As you can tell, we took tons of photos and even got a little wacky as the afternoon progressed. We were doing cartwheels and handstands on the grass – no, not because of the wine – we are just THAT insane. Well, perhaps it was the combination of the the Mosby’s, the Essers, and a some wine thrown into that combination!! We have some nice picnic pictures too, but we’ll share those with you later.
A big thank you to Zachary and Heather for making Justin’s 30th a celebration!
It’s not always easy celebrating all these birthdays overseas, but days like this make it worth it.