Chinese become world's top tipplers of "lucky" red wine

LONDON Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:22am IST

A man examines a glass of red wine from Spain during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong May 28, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile/Files

A man examines a glass of red wine from Spain during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong May 28, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Victor Fraile/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - China has overtaken France and Italy to become the world's number one consumer of red wine, although the United States remains the world's biggest tippler of all types of wines, the wine and spirits trade association VINEXPO said on Tuesday.

China drank 1.865 billion bottles of red wine last year, or in trade terms 155 million nine-liter cases, contributing to a 136 percent increase in consumption over five years.

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 colour, said Guillaume Deglise, the new CEO of VINEXPO.

"Red is the colour 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?"

As the Chinese market matures, Deglise said he also expected an increase in consumption of white wines and champagne.

Overall, the United States remains the world's top wine consumer, VINEXPO said, with China remaining in fifth place and not expected to change that ranking in the immediate future, the organisation said.

Since 2011 the United States has been the world's largest wine consumer, with consumption expected to hit 385 million cases by 2017.

The figures were released ahead of the VINEXPO Asia-Pacific exhibition to be held in Hong Kong on May 27-29.

The event will feature 1,300 exhibitors and is expected to draw 18,000 visitors, a spokesman for VINEXPO said.

Major producing nations from Chile to Australia and including France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Mexico will be represented at the event, VINEXPO said in a statement.

(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Gareth Jones)

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

Down Under

Down Under

Magic Johnson inspires Australia to second test win.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage