Hebei province has closed nearly 30 wineries after their wines were exposed as adulterated on national television. Picture: The 11th Wine Festival held in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang. (File Photo/Xinhua)
China's Hebei province has shut down nearly 30 wineries after wines made there were exposed on national television as adulterated.
The local government acted after China Central Television Station (CCTV) showed wines made in the province's Changli County as containing impurities on a show on Thursday evening (Dec. 23).
Hebei governor Chen Quanguo ordered an investigation late Thursday night at an emergency provincial government meeting.
Chen said at the meeting that wine makers in Changli County whose wine was not up to standard would have their production licenses revoked and they should recall their products immediately.
"These adulterated red wines made from water, alcohol, flavoring essence and color addictives sometimes without any pure grape juice through an irregular process can cause symptoms ranging from headaches to abnormal heartbeat and cancer," said Huang Weidong, a professor at the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association (CADIA).
CCTV's footage showed a local sales manager admitting some of the county's wine was only 20 percent pure and was composed of water and chemicals such as color additives and citric acid.
Customers can buy such red wine for as little as five yuan (US$0.75) a bottle in Changli County. In this way, even a small winery can produce 2.4 million bottles of adulterated red wine per year.
Changli County with nearly 100 wineries is known by industry insiders as a distribution center of wine products. Liquor sales are booming as the western and Chinese New Year holidays approach.