On June 9, Chinese president Xi Jinping visited a rural ecotourism park and a vineyard near the Helan Mountains to learn about the development of local signature agriculture and the efforts on strengthening the ecological conservation of the mountains.
The decision for me was simple: Viniculture development and the wine business there is the hottest topic in the world of wine.
But more importantly, I have seen a greater and meaningful cause behind the business; it is how companies work together to help build and develop society and change people's life for the better.
This is the Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Region. The climate here is very dry, with precipitation of less than 200 mm a year, and the land is sandy, arid, and paved with stones washed down from the Helan Mountains and the Yellow River.
Fujian, at the east coast of China, which is referred to as Min in Chinese, and Ningxia in the northwestern inland, also referred to asNing, jointly built Minning town.
We need to support each other and stand by each other. I think that has always been part of China's thousands of years of history, culture and tradition, and I am glad to see that it is more alive than ever in these troubling times.
To show our deepest respect and gratitude to all the medical staff, the Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Region has created a special "Heroes" customized wine label.
The Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Industry Association Party Committee launched early in February a proposal to all wineries to offer a much-deserved free holiday for all the medical staff around the country who have been participating in the fight against COVID-19 in Hubei to express again our deepest respect and care for them.
He Jinzun, Ho-Lan Soul and Lanyi wineries have already welcomed nearly 100 medical workers, who appreciated and praised the initiative and enjoyed the opportunity for having a good rest.
Since the beginning of May, Ningxia He Jinzun Winery has welcomed groups of Ningxia medical experts coming back from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for a much-deserved rest while being under isolation. One of the medical workers expressed his gratitude to the winery, and I quote: "It's a very quiet place, very suitable for a good rest. Thank you very much to the Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Industry Association Party Committee for arranging this. We look forward to coming back to He Jinzun with our families in September during the winery's harvests."
In Minning town, nearly half the current migrants are engaged in the wine industry in different ways: some are farmers growing grapes, some rent land to other companies to grow grapes, and others work in wineries' production or other departments.
Once farmers, they have become "blue collar" workers. Migrant workers' income has increased more than 20 times in the last 10 years! And in Minning town, the government has built nice big houses for the local people to live in. I see them myself everyday on my way to work since our wine education institute is located in the town.
Ningxia is contributing its share to the poverty alleviation efforts across China, where the number of impoverished people fell to 5.51 million at the end of 2019 from nearly 100 million at the end of 2012. And the wine industry in Ningxia is not only lifting people out of poverty, but also driving people's aspirations for a better future.
More than 33,000 hectares of vine has been planted at the foothill of the Helan Mountains, deeply rooted like a parade of strong soldiers guarding this great land. The vineyards block and naturally hold back the desert sand. It helps preserve precious water resources in a semi-dry region and purify the air. Protecting the environment and fighting the desertification is the biggest priority for China. And Ningxia is actively doing its part.