Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chateau Lafite Ningxia anyone?

China’s Vineyards Overtake France’s as Europe Uproots Its Grapes

by Rudy Ruitenberg, Bloomberg

China now uses more land for growing grapes than France, the world’s largest wine exporter and home of the most expensive bottles from the Burgundy region.

Chinese vine planting increased by about 5 percent last year to an estimated 799,000 hectares (1.97 million acres), according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine, known by its French acronym OIV. France’s grape area slipped about 0.1 percent to 792,000 hectares.

China more than doubled its vineyard since 2000 as domestic wine consumption increased about 45 percent, with the Asian nation last year boasting close to 11 percent of the global grape area from 3.9 percent at the start of the last decade, according to the OIV. The numbers include table grapes as well as those for wine and raisins.

“It’s the largest consumer of red wine,” Jean-Marie Aurand, director general of the OIV, said at a meeting with reporters in Paris on Monday. “A large part of the population has reached a standard of living that allows them access to wine.”

A large part of the Chinese vineyard isn’t in production yet, with vines taking about five years before they start bearing a full crop, Aurand said. The future use of the grapes is unclear, though China’s imports of planting material include red wine-grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and syrah, according to the director general.

(More here.)

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