Ice snow wine in Hai'an
Bingxue wine, a century-old delicacy of Hai'an, Nantong. [Photo/WeChat account: hafbwx]
Walking along Dingsuo Old Street in Hai'an, Nantong, visitors will not miss a unique aroma in the air. According to locals, the intoxicating smell is from Bingxue (ice and snow) wine.
Located on the bank of the Bencha Canal, Dingsuo was a distribution center of commodities in ancient times that attracted numerous businesspeople to travel through it, which gave birth to its various wine shops.
Bingxue wine was the most popular liquor, as it helped dispel the cold and cool down the body in the summer.
The wine was invented in 1903 by Ji Xinting, a local businessman who ran a grocery store and a winery. He used locally produced glutinous rice to make rice wine, adding an array of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, as well as sugar, rock candy, and pork fat into it. The mixture was then preserved in a jar for aging before it became the unique Bingxue wine.
The wine was once widely consumed in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, gaining a good reputation across Southeast Asia.
However, Ji's wine business declined due to the later wars and social turbulence. It was not until the establishment of the People's Republic of China that the local government invited Ji's son Ji Shengyuan to resume wine production at a specially-built winery at No 178 Zhenxi Avenue in Hai'an.