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Introduction to GIs under the China-EU Agreement on Geographical Indications (12): Huishui Black Glutinous Rice Wine

The China-EU Agreement on Geographical Indications officially entered into force on March 1, 2021. It is China’s first bilateral comprehensive and high-level agreement on the protection of geographical indications (GIs), and an important and practical outcome in the development of China-EU economic and trade relations in recent years.

We will continue to introduce to you the first batch of 100 Chinese GIs and 100 European GIs under the Agreement, to better protect and market them to meet the needs of consumers on both sides for a better life.

GI Episode 12: Huishui Black Glutinous Rice Wine

Located in south-central Guizhou Province and under the administration of Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Huishui County is a traditional agricultural production base, mainly known for rice cultivation. In particular, black glutinous rice, a rare and precious rice variety, has a 1,700-plus year history in Huishui Conunty.

The Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau is long known for unpredictable and varying weather conditions. Huishui, which is 1,100 meters above sea level, enjoys abundant sunshine and precipitation, big temperature differences between day and night, and fertile and flat land made possible by the Lianjiang River. These unique climate and soil conditions make Huishui a perfect place for growing black glutinous rice. When autumn comes, the core area of 100,000 mu of Lianjiang Dam is full of harvest. There are waves of rice stalks, and plump and drooping black glutinous rice ears are crystal-clear and red. They are called “black pearls” of the plateau.

Huishui Black Glutinous Rice Wine is made from high-quality black glutinous rice and natural spring water, using traditional techniques of koji-making, steaming, washing rice and fermentation. To make koji, 24 kinds of roots, leaves, flowers and fruits are used, corresponding to 24 solar terms. The wine is amber in colour, clear, mellow and sweet, with an enduring rice flavour, and rich in amino acids, anthocyanins and other nutrients. It has long been considered by locals a special treat for guests. Of Guizhou’s 15 GI products protected in the China-EU GI agreement, only two are alcoholic products. One is the world-famous Moutai Liquor and the other is Huishui Black Glutinous Rice Wine.

For thousands of years, deep mountains and ravines have blocked the connection between Guizhou and the outside world. When China won the fight against extreme poverty in 2020, Guizhou lifted the most people out of poverty. Today, Guizhou is bringing Huishui Black Glutinous Rice Wine and other high-quality goods to the rest of the country and the world, which not only brings the taste of Guizhou to the world, but also contributes to poverty alleviation and rural revitalization.

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