China has dethroned France to become the second-largest wine growing area in the world behind Spain…although the French can still brag that their homeland remains the biggest producer of wine.
China now accounts for 11 percent of land given over to vineyards (up 4 percent from 2000) with 799,000 hectares of Chinese soil devoted purely to wine growing, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (IOVW). This compares with 1.02 million hectares for Spain.
China has also become the largest red wine market in the world, after over 155 million nine-liter cases were gulped down in the Middle Kingdom in 2013. Red wine consumption in the country has increased by 136 percent since 2008, according to IBTimes, citing a survey commissioned by Bordeaux-based exhibition company Vinexpo.
“Apart from its virtues with regard to health, which have been widely lauded as an alternative to the impact of excessive consumption of rice-based spirits, the popularity of red wine is largely due to the symbolic importance of its color,” Vinexpo explained.
“Red is a very positive hue in Chinese culture, associated with wealth, power and good luck. In business circles, these three values are fundamental. Red wine is therefore an obvious choice for business hospitality, where partners can drink to each others’ health.”
France still churns out more wine than anywhere in the world, producing 46.7 million hectoliters (mhl), and the US became the largest consumer of wine last year after sucking down about 30.7 mhl of the stuff (13 percent of all global wine produced last year), followed by France and Italy.
Between this news and the revelation about that 3,600-year-old Chinese cheese, well….watch your back France.