天宝洞

Tianbao Cave - Wine Cave - Liquor Aging Cave


Useful Information

Location: Erlang Town, Gulin County in Luzhou City, next to Chishui River basin. Chengdu Erlangzhen, Hechuan, Chongqing, China
(28.133512647319666, 106.18864076236902)
Open:
Fee:
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Ar=14,200 m².
Guided tours:
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Tianbao Cave, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

135 BC Emperor of Han Dynasty appointed "Goujiang Liquor" produced in Erlang area as tribute wine.
early in the Song Dynasty, the top quality "Fengqufa Liquor" produced in Erlang area was documented.
1898 Xuzhi Distillery began to make "Huisha Langjiu".
1933 Huichuan Fermenting House renamed "Huisha Langjiu" to "Langjiu".
1994 Langjiu was the first Chinese baijiu company to get its product quality certified by international standard.

Description

Erlang Town is well known in China as the origin of Baijiu, a chinese liquor. It is a small ancient town sitting amongst the mountains beside Chishui River. Here grows the rare plant red rice sorghum at an altitude of more than 1000 m which is used to produce the liquor. The site is the production area of Lang liquor or Langjiu, named after nearby Erlang town, which has been one of the leading Chinese liquors for centuries. During Han Dynasty it was known as Goujiang Liquor, in Song Dynasty it was called Fengqufa Liquor. They developed processes known as repeated-steaming process or as repeated-blending process. The natural spring water in the remote mountains of Chishui River basin is top quality mineral water. The unpolluted water, crystal clear and odourless, with a moderate pH value and a low hardness, is perfect for making good liquors. In the Tianbao Peak at Erlang Town, in the middle part of the cliff, are Tianbao Cave, Dibao Cave, and Renhe Cave, which are the largest natural liquor-storage caves in the world.

Modern Langjiu inherits those sophisticated traditional techniques and sticks stubbornly, as they say themselves, to the time-consuming procedure to ensure outstanding quality. It takes a year to produce the liquor, and then it is aged for decades. The constant warm and moist condition inside the cave helps to form a unique environment which is advantageous for the aging of liquor, making it rich and flavoursome. The cave is full of huge ceramics vessels which are filled with the liquor. They have small round openings which are are closed by a flat ceramic cap. The vessels are marked with the content and year, so the liquor ages for 5, 10, or even 20 years. The whole process resembles the Scottish Whisky production process, still the result is much different as the wooden casks are replaced by ceramics vessels.

The two main liquors are are known to smell similar to soy sauce, but with more than 50% alcohol, they are definitely a liquor. In Europe they are quite hard to find, they are only sold only in very well sorted liquor stores. If you find them, a bottle of 20 year old Qinghua Lang Baijiu costs more than € 100. They also produce normal liquor which is not aged and sold regular prices. The Lang Distillery is today a multi million dollar company and produces enormous amounts of liquor. The agings tanks are located on the top of the hill, are quite huge and numerous, and are made of steel. They have opened the historic aging caves and historic distillery for public inspection and there are regular tours. A cable car brings tourists up the hillside to the cave entrances and an outlook. The buildings at the foot of the hill were modernized and the unique architecture received various awards.