Celebrating a Great Year for Long Jing with Shaoxing Wine

We have had a tremendous long jing harvest this year! I think this is likely the best harvest in 10 years or so. This year's tea was harvested on April 2, three days before the Qing Ming Festival on the fifth. Long jing picked before Qing Ming is deemed most valuable. After having been stored in paper packets in lined urns, the tea is ready to go. This year's Imperial Dragon Well has already been shipped via express mail and should arrive in a few days. I am carrying the Lotus Heart with me because I just can't let it out of my sight. I will be back on the 19th and then its long jing time!

As to other green teas, due to consistently cold weather this year's harvest of high-altitude green tea has been delayed. What is available is off-the-chart expensive and disappointing. After a couple of days cupping bad tea, I had enough. What do you do when you can't find good tea? You drink wine, of course! Chinese imitations of Western wine still need a LOT of help, so I went looking for wine that the Chinese are good at, Shaoxing rice wine. I toured the famous Shaoxing Wine Factory in Zhejiang Province, around two hours from where long jing is grown, and was delighted to be treated to a tour of the factory floor and some of the impressive lineup of Shaoxing wine at the Kuaijishan Shaoxing Wine Co. I had an opportunity to taste Shaoxing wine ranging from newly brewed to 100 years old. Then I had a wonderful Shaoxing-style dinner. Don't think my tea trips are just about tea!

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