China has surpassed France and Italy to become the biggest consumer of red wine in the world, a new study finds.
China drank 1.865 billion bottles of red wine last year (or 155 million nine-litre cases), contributing to a 136% increase in consumption over 5 years.
For comparison, France consumed 150 million cases, while Italy consumed 141 million cases, according to new research released this week.
The report was commissioned by Vinexpo, a Bordeaux-based wine industry conference, and conducted by the International Wine & Spirit Research, an independent research firm for the liquor trade.
What’s more, red wine consumption in China almost tripled between 2007 and 2013, while it decreased 18% in France and 5.8% in Italy.
Experts attribute the interest in red wine in China not only to the purported health benefits of red versus white but also to the color’s cultural significance.
In China, the color red represents good fortune, strength and luck, making it the ideal drink to serve at banquets and parties, the report points out.
More than 80% of the wine consumed in the country is also produced domestically, placing China as the fifth largest wine producer in the world.