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Shao Kang in Chinese Wine History

By the end of the Chinese Xia dynasty (2070BC-1600BC), the now-called Shanxi province developed a wine production culture under Shao Kang’s rule. Shao Kang was the son of King Xiang and the sixth king of the ancient Chinese Xia dynasty.

During Xiang’s rule, Han Zhuo’s two sons, Han Jiao and Han Ji, attacked King Xiang and murdered him. However, Shao Kang’s mother, Queen Ji, managed to escape and birthed him after a few months. Later on, Shao Kang and his followers attacked Han Zhuo. In the battle, he defeated and killed Han Zhou; and restored Xia Dynasty.

Shao Kang (also known as Du Kang) is considered to be the first recorded winemaker in China. His wines were created from fermented barley mash and various other fruits. The archaeological findings also show that some of his wines were most likely made up of grapes. Started by Shao Kang, the developments of grape production and grape wine in Shanxi province have made it one of China’s most important wine-producing regions.

Evidence from the archaeological records associates several traditions with Shao Kang’s winemaking. The evidence suggests that he had good taste in food and drink in his youth. He once planted some grains in a hollow tree, and after a while, he noticed a distinct scent emerging from it. He learned to make wine as a result of this. After that, he was named the “Inventor of Wine” In China. There is no evidence in the literature for the name change from Shao Kang to Du Kang.

According to a popular saying among the winemakers in China, “One bout of Du Kang’s exquisite wine can make you intoxicated for three years.” Winemakers regard Du Kang as an immortal because of his veneration, and his name has become synonymous with good wine.

Categories: Country Profiles, This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , By Published On: March 26, 2022

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