Wine in China

Wine has a long history in China. Sometimes overshadowed by rice wine, grape varietal wine has had incredible growth over the last few decades and continues to grow. Let’s take a closer look.

History

  • China has a long history of wine – about 4,600 years of history to be “exact”. Archaeological evidence from 4,600 years ago shows wine production and consumption being present in China. Comparatively, rice wine in China has about a 3,000-year history.

Production

  • While it’s been around for centuries, wine production and consumption in China reemerged in the 1990s, largely due to a growing middle class and globalization.
  • During the 1980s/1990s the Chinese population shifted towards wine and were willing to pay more for wine which is viewed as a luxury product there.
  • The production of wine in China is the 4th largest in the world behind Italy, France, and The United States.
  • In 2019, over 800 million liters of wine were produced.
  • It’s the 2nd largest in the world in terms of vineyard area.

Demand

  • China is the 5th largest consumer of wine in the world.
  • The demand for wine in China continues to grow, so much so that they rely on about 40% of imports to keep up with their consumers.
  • Most of the imports are new world from Australia, Italy, and, Chile, as an interesting note.

Preferences

  • 80% of wine consumed is red and 20% is white. This is largely due to the cultural beliefs of the health benefits of drinking red wine. We also tell ourselves that the benefits of red wine warrant drinking it 80%of the time 😉
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt (aka Carménère), Merlot,and Marselan are the primary grapes in Chinese wine production.

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