In 1892, the modern mainland wine industry got a kick start, with the launch of the Yantai Changyu Winemaking Company. It was modelled on the great chateaux of Bordeaux, both architecturally and by using classic French grape varieties. Production figures from 2008 rank the mainland as the world's sixth-largest grower of wine grapes, one place ahead of Australia. Chang Yu, Dynasty and Great Wall - all of which are based around Penglai, Shandong province - are the three major mainland labels, accounting for 45 per cent of all domestic wine sales. Other recognised Chinese names include Catai, Dragon Seal, Taillan and the reliably high-quality wines from Chateau Bolongbao. Grace Vineyard is by far the most aggressive of mainland wineries when it comes to engaging with the international market. Knowledgable drinkers in Hong Kong will be familiar with its Chairman's Reserve (made of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc) and the Deep Blue merlot-cabernet blend. Probably best suited to the Hong Kong lifestyle, though, is the modestly priced Vineyard Series rose, which is made with cabernet sauvignon grapes. It is far from the wishy-washy lollypop wine that we have come to expect of rose. With more than 13 per cent alcohol, it is seriously dry, and it cries out to be imbibed with spicy food. The flavour of Bolongbao's wine is distinctly French and its cabernet sauvignon blends consistently win international medals. This pioneering winery is in the Fangshan region, just outside Beijing, where it is so cold in the winter months the vines have to be buried to survive. Bolongbao is said to be the first and only organic winery in the mainland and its cabernet blends have more than a hint of aristocratic Bordeaux about them. Slightly garnet and not excessively dense, the wine is fragrant with balanced American and French oak complexity. The wine is lead by fruit from the beginning to the last evaporating vapour. Dynasty was established by the government in 1980, in partnership with French cognac house Remy Martin. The Tianjin winery produces more than 35 million bottles a year and is one of the most visible Chinese wine brands outside the country. As well as a range of reds, brandy and sweet wines, the producer is known for Dynasty Extra Dry wine - which is actually not that dry. Made from the perfumed muscat grape blended with the trendy chardonnay grown along the Tianjin coast, this is a versatile wine both with food and as an aperitif.