France has lost its title as the world’s biggest consumer of red wine – taking second place to China. Chinese drinkers consumed 1.865 billion bottles last year, a new study has found, while French drinkers made do with, erm, just 1.8 billion bottles of red wine.
Red – rather than white – wine is particularly popular among China’s superstitious public because the colour red is associated with good health and prosperity.
More than 80% of the red wine drunk in China has been produced locally.
Of the remaining 20%, Bordeaux reds dominate sales. A number of chateaux and vineyards have been bought by wealthy Chinese business people in recent years too.
Of course, what these figures hide is that average consumption remains far higher in France. China, after all, has a population some 20 times that of France.
Chinese consumers drank 1.5 litres – or two bottles – per person in 2013, which remains way behind the French average. How reassuring.