Ningxia wines are wines produced in the Chinese province of Ningxia (Chinese: 宁夏; pronounced [nǐŋɕjâ]). Wine grapes have been grown in the area since 1982, when large Chinese wine producers such as Changyu, Great Wall, and Dynasty established vineyards in the region. At that time, little wine was vinified in the region; rather, the grapes were shipped to more developed regions to be turned into wine. In the late 1990s, the Ningxia Agricultural Reclamation Management Bureau began a concerted effort to turn once arid land between the Yellow River and the Helan Mountain foothills into a potential site for vineyard development. From the mid 2000s onwards, Ningxia saw a steady increase in quality wine production, with international wine brands such as Pernod Ricard and LVMH investing in the area. Several boutique, Chinese-owned wineries also began operations in this period, including Helan Qingxue Winery and Silver Heights Vineyard. Following Helan Qingxue's surprise win at the Decanter Worldwide Wine Awards in 2011, Ningxia has seen an explosion of winery development. One unique viticultural feature of the region is the use of sand and earth to bury the vines in the winter, a labor-intensive practice necessary to protect the vines against the cold and dry months from November through March.