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Making Shendang yellow rice wine

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Nov 18, 2020

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Shendang Niangzao, a 100-year-old wine brand from Jiaxing, holds a ceremony each year to make sacrifices to the God of Wine and pray for a good year on the Beginning of Winter, which falls on Nov 7 this year. [Photo/WeChat account: jxfabu]

Shendang Niangzao, a 100-year-old wine brand in Jiaxing, has a tradition of beginning to make yellow rice wine on the Beginning of Winter, which falls on Nov 7 this year.

Over the past more than 100 years, Shendang Niangzao has held a ceremony that day to make sacrifices to the God of Wine and pray for a good year.

The period from the Beginning of Winter to the Beginning of Spring in the following year is the best time to make yellow rice wine, as low temperatures can suppress the breeding of infectious microbes and ensure a smooth fermentation process.

After the ceremony, Shendang Niangzao's wine-makers steam the soaked rice and then cool it to 20 to 30 degrees C.

They then place the cooled rice into wine tanks with a so-called "wine medicine", which is a mixture of smashed rice and two fermented cultures.

After stirring them well, they then dig a hole among them and cover the tank with straw to keep it warm.

On the third day, they will place the fermented rice into new tanks; on the fourth day, another 50 kilograms of rice and 6 kg of wheat koji will be mixed in with the rice in the new tanks; on the fifth day, another 25 kg of rice and 6 kg of wheat koji will be added.

After the fifth day, the fermented rice will be put into small jars and left to continue fermenting in the open air.

After 100 days of outdoor fermentation, draft wine will be produced from the fermented rice and then made into mature yellow rice wine through high-temperature steaming.

This yellow rice wine will then be placed into small jars sealed with mud and put in a cellar.

Shendang Niangzao's cellar currently houses more than 60,000 wine jars, with the oldest being 10 years old. It is the largest wine cellar in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai.

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A wine-maker is busy cooking rice, which will be used to make wine. [Photo/WeChat account: jxfabu]