It’s official! China is now the world’s leading consumer of red wine, beating out France and Italy. Chinese tipplers drank 1.865 billion bottles of red wine last year, marking a 136 percent increase in consumption over five years, Telegraph reports:
That beat France into second place for red wine and Italy into third, VINEXPO said, based on figures compiled by the London-based International Wine and Spirit Research firm.
The reason for the massive surge in red wine drinking in China, apart from growing affluence, is the Chinese preference for red over white on cultural grounds based on the color, said Guillaume Deglise, the new CEO of VINEXPO.
“Red is the color of luck and good fortune and white is the colour of death” in China, Deglise told Reuters.
“So you don’t want to drink white, why would you?”
This preference is also based on red wine’s purported health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart attacks.
So yeah, while it does appear that a good chunk of the Chinese market bases their tipple choices on anything but flavor, this latest news marks another big step for China in the wine world.
The United States overall remains the world’s top wine consumer, a position that likely won’t change anytime soon.
However, China will no doubt move up the rankings in other categories, like world’s biggest wine producer, which it’s expected to be within five years.