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)

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Boxoffice Report

Boxoffice Report

'Hunger Games' tops U.S. chart with $123 million on opening weekend.  Full Article 

Cosby Show

Cosby Show

Sold-out Cosby show goes ahead amid sex assault claims  Full Article 

Latin Grammys

Latin Grammys

U.S. politics takes center stage at Latin Grammys.  Full Article 

King's 'Revival'

King's 'Revival'

Stephen King's 'Revival' debuts at No. 1 on U.S. best-seller list.  Full Article 

Return To Broadway

Return To Broadway

Glenn Close heads all-star cast in revival of 'A Delicate Balance'  Full Article 

Photo

Hollywood In China

Los Angeles mayor presses China to allow more Hollywood films  Full Article 

Trip Tips

Trip Tips

Hungary, where goose is king - and eaten - for a month.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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