Ningxia Xiaopu Winemaker Ian Dai on China’s Evolving Industry

Ian Dai started out as a sommelier and eventually became a wine purchaser, but knew he always craved something more. So, in 2017 he purchased a plot of land on an already existing Ningxia winery and experiment with some of his own ideas of what wine can and should be. We sat down with Dai to discuss China’s changing wine industry, and how he believes it will continue to grow and change. 

Image courtesy of Ian Dai

What is your background, and how did you get into winemaking? 
I started my career doing sales in a wine shop, but later decided to become a sommelier. Eventually, I was hired to work at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, and I was involved with organizing the WINE100 wine challenge – still the most influential wine competition in China to this day. Simultaneously, I started to teach for the WSET wine exam and various wine associations, like Wine Australia. 

In 2016, I worked with Penguin Guide as a wine buyer and purchased wine for Amazon China. Yet, I felt…

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