China to drive global wine consumption in the next five years

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China's wine consumption will continue to drive the global market over the next half decade, according to forecasts from the London-based International Wine and Spirit Research company (IWSR).

TopWine China © TopWine China

IWSR conducted research for Vinexpo, and details were released in Hong Kong on March 8 prior to Vinexpo in Bordeaux in June.

In the five years to the end of 2011, Chinese wine consumption soared 142.1 per cent to reach 159.25 million cases.

That was the equivalent of 1.911 billion bottles, making China the world’s fifth largest wine-consuming nation.

But consumption per head is still low by world standards. On average, each Chinese adult only drank just under two bottles last year, suggesting huge potential for growth.

IWSR says that between 2012 and 2016 the Chinese market will grow by another 39.62 per cent, equivalent to an extra 858 million bottles.

This will easily be the fastest growth in wine consumption around the world as opposed to countries including France and Italy where consumption will fall slightly over the same period.

By 2011 China became the world’s sixth largest wine-producing nation, reaching 135 million 9-litre cases.

Production will continue to rise, to 166.6 million cases a year by 2016, when China will become the fourth largest wine producer globally.

Most of the wine consumed in China is made there. Four in five bottles drunk are domestic wines, with imported wines representing the other 20 per cent. Red is still the preferred colour, representing nine out of ten bottles consumed.

Vinexpo chief executive Robert Beynat spoke with reporter Stephen Quinn about the Chinese market.

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