China overtakes France as the world's second-largest wine grape grower

"China overtook France as the world’s second-largest wine grape grower by area under cultivation, as the country continues planting fields to keep up with growing demand, according a new report (PDF) by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.

China’s wine growing area has more than doubled since the start of the century to 799,000 hectares, and accounts for 10.6 percent of the world’s growing area, falling between France’s 10.5 percent and Spain’s 13.5 percent.

China has also become the world’s biggest consumer of red wine; in fact, consumers in the country drink almost no white.

Despite its large growing area, the country ranked only eighth in production, creating 11 million hectoliters in 2014, compared to the more than 40 million hectoliters produced by France, Italy, and Spain. Its output is expected to surge in the near future as its recently planted vines become old enough to start producing."

This is an interesting table showing China way behind in 2011:

Wine production by country 2011[3]
Rank Country
(with link to wine article) Production
1 Italy Italy 6,590,750
2 France France 4,673,400
3 Spain Spain 3,339,700
4 United States United States 2,211,300
5 China China 1,657,500
6 Argentina Argentina 1,547,300

Food and Agriculture Organization: Metric tons 2010.

Great news as far as I see it. No, many of the developing regions won’t have a thirst for higher-end stuff we all covet, but increasing supply and potentially reputation of Chinese wine (regional pride?) could help US consumers.

I am actually more surprised to see Argentina so high on the leaderboard.

Thanks for sharing the info.

In a nod to Chinese efficiency, the grapes come to the winery pre-sulfered!

Not really surprised at all. I was there five years ago, and Patagonia (not the nice part) was using up some of its oil revenues by planting vineyards. Huge, huge plantings: one year they planted the equivalent of the Medoc and Graves in one tiny area. Beautiful wineries, lots of debt to these state agencies. Can’t vouch for the expertise, and the wines I tasted were far from good, but then they were showing off wines from young vines less than three years old.


And here I thought the dust in St. Julien was already quite prominent.

I’m concerned all that land being used for vineyards is not being used for grain…
China has no expertise in this area… it does have 1 billion+ mouths to feed… where’s the common villager gonna source their food from? the dabbling in wine (or any industry) is cool, but the speed/resources being thrown at this is concerning.

Many of the common villagers used to be in a position to grow their own food, but with forced urbanization in the works they’ll have fewer people growing food, too.

This. My understanding is that China is deficient in arable land relative to the acreage required to feed their population. They must import much/most of their food. I have also heard they are buying up land around the world - especially in Africa - and growing food that is shipped back to China, and that this can/does create serious problems for indigenous farmers in those areas.

How long until this juice finds its way to the counterfeit market?

Not necessarily counterfeit Lafite, but maybe just counterfeit Penfolds or counterfeit Mondavi?