China Wine

Wine guide to Hangzhou

Hangzhou, known for its fine silk, UNESCO world heritage site West Lake, and its association with Alibaba, is also a worthy destination for wine crowds.

Hangzhou, less than an hour away from Shanghai by bullet train, is the capital of Zhejiang province in East China and home to 10 million residents. The more than 2,000-year-old city was once the capital of Song Dynasty, and till today it’s revered by Chinese as the ‘Paradise on Earth’ for its temperate climate all year around, postcard-perfect pagodas and stone bridges, and the UNESCO world heritage site, West Lake, that inspired many poets and painters.

Aside from its beautiful scenery, the city is closely associated with e-commerce behemoth Alibaba as the heart of its operation and birthplace of its charismatic founder Jack Ma. Because of its kinship with Alibaba, the city is sometimes referred to as “the city that Jack built”. More importantly, the city is at the forefront of e-commerce innovation and cashless payment, where over 90% of services, public transport and retailers accept digital payment.

Alibaba’s headquarter in Hangzhou

Alibaba-led economy helped boost local wealth. In 2017, the city’s per capita GDP reached US$20,000, and it was promoted to first-tier city status in 2019 along with 14 other cities including Chengdu, a term used to classify most developed cities in China.

Wine consumption in the city is booming as well, thanks to residents’ relatively high disposable income. In fact, Zhejiang province ranked as China’s fifth biggest wine importing destination by value after Shanghai, Fujian, Guangdong and Beijing based on wine imports data from 2018. Hangzhou as its provincial capital is responsible for the bulk of the wines consumed in the province.

Here arethree top wine bars that are lubricating the city’s expanding wine crowds, including a rather progressive natural wine wine bar and a watering hole backed by none other than Alibaba founder Jack Ma.  

Scroll through the pages to find out more about the bars.

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