An epic



Ao Yun is the result of an epic journey born from a dream, a single vision to produce a unique and elegant world-class wine in China. This story began in 2008 with faith and determination, culminating in the creation of the world’s first Himalayan Grand Cru four years later – at over 2,200m above sea level. Ao Yun’s unique and remote environment has posed many challenges along the way, but has also contributed to the distinct flavour and texture defining its wines.

Pioneers One Step Ahead

In the late 1800s, French Missionaries planted the first vineyards around newly built churches in some villages along the Mekong River.

Over a century later, in 2000, fourteen hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, were planted by local farmers in 4 special villages between 2,200m and 2,600m altitude - Adong, Shuori, Sinong and Xidang.

Exploring New Wine Frontiers

Estates & Wines entrusted Australian winemaker and scientist Dr. Tony Jordan with one clear mission: to study the terroir in order to ascertain the feasibility of creating a world class wine in vast China.

“For the red wine project, the head of Moët Hennessy specified that the quality criterion was to be the highest …the brief was for any location in China!”

Elevating the Search

After 4 years combing the country's provinces and assessing the topography, soil and climate of each in his search for the perfect terroir, Dr. Jordan found that 99% of the country did not meet the stringent level of quality or style the project commanded but was intrigued by what some winemakers described as a 'warmer dry valley' in the mountainous area of Yunnan.

It became increasingly evident that higher and cooler regions protected from precipitation would provide the best microclimate for a Cabernet vineyard.

A Challenge Beyond

When he ventured to North Yunnan Dr. Jordan observed for the first time in China a microclimate with higher altitude and cooler temperatures that was protected from the rain, which could be an ideal terroir for red varieties such as Cabernet. “The different altitudes of the villages result in different temperature regimes which give the opportunity to fine tune terroir choice”. The search was over.

Enthralled by the idea of finally being able to live his dream of nurturing a new terroir, French winemaker Maxence Dulou took on the daunting challenge of building the winery.

With few roads, no electricity, limited materials and vineyards too steep to be planted or maintained with machinery, the obstacles were innumerable.

Efforts Come to Fruition

Maxence Dulou’s dream became reality upon the harvest for Ao Yun’s first vintage. However, passionate about the new terroir and determined to unearth its fullest potential, he decided to undertake a comprehensive soil and weather study.

It was in line with the conclusions of Tony Jordan’s November 2012 study: ‘The wines won’t be a copy of Bordeaux or any other terroir. They necessarily will have some distinctive aromas, flavours and aspects of balance that reflect the high-altitude terroir of Shangri-La. They should have the quality of a top Bordeaux.’

Expanding Local Potential

The new winery in Adong was built at 2600m.

Custom Terroir Management

Maxence Dulou and his team of Chinese winemakers divided Ao Yun’s 314 plots vineyards into 900 sub-plots, grouped by similar microclimate and soil profiles, in an effort to continuously improve their technique.

Altitude Vintage

“Beautiful structure and depth. This is a wine that really impresses with all the finesse and quality of tannins.” James Suckling

8 years after Dr. Jordan first set foot in China, the very first Ao Yun vintage, Ao Yun 2013, is launched and receives global acclaim.