After Spain, China is now the second-largest vineyard area in the world, devoting 799,000 hectares of land to growing grapes
It’s enough to make the French spit out their Châteauneuf-du-Pape in disgust since China has gulped up the wine marker.
The French are famous for their wines so we might forgive them a mon Dieu or two as China has overtaken them to become the second-largest wine growing area in the world.
According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the Asian nation devoted 799,000 hectares (1.97 million acres) of land to growing grapes for wine last year, compared with 792,000 for France. Spain remains in the lead with 1.02 million hectares.
Jean-Marie Aurand, head of OIV, told The Local in France: “There are plantations of dozens, even hundreds of thousands of hectares created with Chinese money, but using the foreign expertise of wine-growers from Australia, the United States, Spain, France and Italy.”
He added that many young Chinese were also travelling abroad to learn the arts of the trade, while China was also developing its own training centres.
China has rapidly emerged as a major player in wine. Since 2000, the percentage of the world’s vineyards located in China has risen from 3.9% to 10.6%.
It wasn’t all bad news for France though as the latest figures don't seem to have been translated into what tipples we drink – they still remain the biggest producer of wine in the world, making 46.7 million hectolitres of vino.