Water into Wine (& tea)

Like most parts of the world, you do not drink the water that comes out of the tap. In Mexico, I was terrified every night while brushing my teeth that I might accidentally rinse with tap water. With over a billion people, China does not produce potable water right out of the faucet due to the infrastructure challenges that would create.  They believe, after all, a very small percentage of water send through pipes actually ends up as drinking water, so why not bottle up the actual water used by people for consumption. 

In Qingdao, the best bottled water comes from the Laoshan Mountains looming over the city to the north, the same source as the Tsingato Beer, arguably the best-known and exported beer in Asia.  That same water also feeds the camellia bushes that produce the locally famous Laoshan tea grown in the foothills around the mountain.  Over the mountains, dozens of vineyards have sprung up as the Shandong Provence slowly becomes recognized as a great wine-producing area of Asia sharing climatic similarities with northern California.  The combination of sunny weather, coastal mountains, and a cool marine fog create ideal conditions for many varieties of grapes including pinot noir and merlots.

The giant plastic water bottles are guaranteed delivery within 2 hours of your phone call and most often delivered, amazingly, on motorcycle or tricycle outfitted with specially-constructed holders held together by old bicycle tire inner tubes.  Truly a feat of balance and fearlessness is required for this job.

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