The Journal / Body

Body Of Work

Every year, local photographers from all over China focus their lens on Long Dai

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Nestled in the Qiu Shan Valley not far from the coast, on China’s Shandong Peninsula, lies our estate known as ‘Domaine de Long Dai’. Five thousand feet above the Yellow Sea, the soil is rich, diverse, and, as it turns out, particularly suited to grape-growing.  

Back in 2011, our first vines were planted in this new (to us) terroir, with the invaluable aid of Chinese savoir-faire, passed down through generations. We joined forces with local experts and winemaking teams to tend carefully to the vines over the following months and years, nurturing the plants’ growth, development, and budding promise. Ten years later, the results speak for themselves, in sensational vintages that belie their young history. 

Continuing the long tradition at Château Lafite Rothschild of our ‘Regards Sur Lafite’ series, we’ve turned the photographic lens on Domaine de Long Dai. To convey the striking beauty of this distinctive terroir, the passion and dedication of its current stewards, and the making of its wines, we have asked several celebrated photographers to visit the estate – and capture their own unique ‘views’ of Long Dai. 

We’ve assembled a collective ‘Body of Work’ by way of introduction; this assembly of images from the last few years of visiting artists offers a sense of this very special terroir’s character – and characters. While much is dramatically different from our ‘Regards sur Lafite’ archive, we are always struck by how familiar the rhythm and practice of winemaking is, wherever we go in the world. 

Discover our Long Dai Estate here.

2019 – Zhao SUN

Neatly reflecting our union of French and Chinese expertise at Long Dai, photographer Zhao SUN’s work has been influenced by his experience of both cultures. Born in Xi’an city in 1985, he began taking photographs at the age of 16, and went on to study at the Xi’an School of Fine Arts. After graduating in 2007, he moved to France to attend the École nationale de la photographie in Arles, and the École des beaux-arts de Paris. He has lived and worked in Paris for over ten years, joining the studios of Patrick Fiagenbaum and Marc Petaut. Today, he takes urban life, often Parisian, as his central subject – with a detailed and poetic eye for the everyday workings of the metropolis. He prefers to work in film, enjoying the artisanal, slow-paced aspects of printing in the laboratory – where the best outcome is sometimes revealed by chance.

2020 – Xiao ZHANG

Currently living and working in Chengdu city, Xiao ZHANG is a photographer of undeniably impressive credentials. Born in 1981 in Yantai city, Shandong province, Zhang Xiao worked as a photojournalist for Chongqing Morning Post, before receiving the prestigious Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from Harvard University in 2018. But aside from his many (many) awards and accolades, it was the beauty and subtlety of Xiao’s work that we found most compelling. It expresses, somehow, that strange alchemy of transformation familiar to both winemakers and artists.  

In his own words :

« My recent work has focused a lot on the place I grew up […] but this time it was at the invitation of the Long Dai estate that I went. In many of my previous works, I’ve used the technique of transferring Polaroid onto paper. The idea is to cut out the Polaroid sheet, soak it in water to remove the emulsion and then transfer it onto paper. I like these images, which seem imperfect once transferred to paper […].

I felt very close to the Domaine de Long dai, where I stayed for a week. I know the sun and the air, the land, the food and, of course, the local dialect. I have experienced the visual and gustatory pleasures associated with the environment and the winemaking, and throughout my stay I have searched for subtle ‘fragments’. I hope that I have been able to capture these details, which are not easy to detect, but which are so important. 

For this work I’ve repeated the process I used for the works linked to my home-town, not only because it’s the same geographical area, but also because I’m using a creative concept that perfectly echoes the wine-making process. The works produced have been transformed several times, photographed digitally with a Polaroid camera, transferred to paper and then scanned back into digital format, following a process comparable to that of winemaking; the grain and imperfections of the photos resemble the sediment found in good wines».

2021 – Chen LIANG et Peng ZHANG (our cellar master and our head of viticulture)

Long Dai Cellar Master Chen LIANG and head of viticulture Peng ZHANG stepped into the breach during 2021’s lockdown protocols, to photograph our vignerons (and vines) still hard at work producing the year’s irrepressible millésime. Our resident field reporters took the camera, and we think they did rather well as amateur photographers! Our thanks to them both for capturing these wonderful images under difficult conditions. 

2022 – Gerry CAO

Gerry CAO set his sights on Long Dai in 2022. Having trained in Graphic Design at LASALLE Art College, Vancouver, Gerry went on to establish the HODD STUDIO of photography in Shanghai, in 2021. After beginning his exploration of photography only 8 years ago, Gerry began to travel widely with his camera in tow after his studies in North America. Along the way, he gathered an impressive portfolio that drew attention – and commissions – from the Wall Street Journal, the Canton-Sadine Gallery, Vogue Magazine and Chinese band Seven Joys.

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