China’s vineyard area vaults past France

More acres of grapes are now in China than France. The total vineyard area in China is 1.97 million acres (799,000 hectares) according to new stats presented yesterday in Paris by the OIV, the International Office of Vine and Wine.

Although vineyard area includes grapes for both winemaking (what we’re interested in) and table grapes (those can be good too), the rise of plantings in China over the past 14 years is staggering. Vineyard area in the EU is part of the Common Market Program and is governed by EU agricultural policy, which has been moving to reduce marginal vineyards through a policy known as “grubbing up” and limiting new plantings through a zero-sum formula of planting rights. Unhindered by such policies and with wine consumption rising, China’s vineyards were bound to overtake key EU countries one day. So far, however, it is in quantity only. Oh, this headline caught my eye the other day: “The head of China’s biggest wine brand admits its wines are terrible.”

The US remains the world’s largest wine consuming country. Check out our interactive chart below–be sure to click to see whether each market is growing or shrinking!

Data from OIV

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5 Responses to “China’s vineyard area vaults past France”

  1. Even though their wines are self proclaimed as ‘terrible’ there is only one way both plantings and consumption is going to go. How many years until we have a ‘Judgement of Beijing’ tasting?!
    regards Adrian

  2. As you note, the OIV lumps all vineyards together, whether they are for wine grapes or table grapes. A large majority — one person in the know told me 75 percent — are table grapes.

    Makes sense given the OIV’s wine production stats in the same report, which show France makes four times-plus as much wine as China.

    So, yep, lots of vineyards, but France has lots more than China when it comes to wine grapes.

    Cheers, Boyce

  3. Interesting info. Based on the quality of goods from China’s other manufacturing industries, I’m not convinced that we will ever have a judgement of Beijing”

  4. @ Adrian – China has lax laws on wine labeling. Jim Boyce can correct me if I’m wrong, but as I recall only a minuscule amount of the grapes (on the order of 10%? have to come from China for a wine to be considered “Chinese wine.” So, given this backdrop, a “Chinese wine” could win a “judgement of Beijing” type of competition and still be comprised of foreign grapes.

    @ Jim Boyce – Indeed, thanks for underscoring. Do you know a good map of China’s wine regions / (wine) vineyards?

    Also, interesting that the OIV sees consumption slowing in China by 7%.

  5. Cheers Tyler
    Incredible how lax those labelling laws are!


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