While the city of Tianjin is one of the Top 10 most populous cities in the world, its larger neighbor to the northwest, Beijing, gets most of the attention from foreign wineries looking to expand to China. While that means that Tianjin wines do not get the attention they perhaps deserve, it also means that the province has unique sales and marketing opportunities that other Chinese wine regions do not.
Tianjin has carved out a unique spot for itself in China’s wine industry. In 1980, it was the home of the first-ever Chinese wine joint venture, the Sino-French Tianjin Dynasty Wine Company (now simply known as Dynasty Wines). In 2010, Dynasty Wines was voted the No. 2 wine brand in China (trailing only Great Wall) by the China Association for Liquor and Spirits and the China Brand Institute.
The total size of Tianjin province, at just 11,800 square kilometers, makes it one of China’s smallest provinces. Moreover, Tianjin is almost completely surrounded by Hebei Province. The primary wine growing area of Tianjin is the area around the Jiyan River, in the eastern part of the province. Given the proximity of Tianjin to the Bohai Sea and the ocean, the province has a decidedly maritime climate. It is also greatly impacted by the East Asian Monsoon, which brings significant rainfall to the province in the summer and makes things challenging for grape growers concerned about fungal disease.
The top grape in Tianjin is Muscat Hamburg, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Dynasty Wines uses grapes grown both within Tianjin and from other wine regions (especially Ningxia) for its wines.