IS CHINA THE NEXT WINE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?

When talking about wines and vineyards, France is the first country to come to mind. The country produces seven to eight billion bottles of French wine every year, and is one of the world’s largest wine producers—before China changed the game. Europe, as a whole, accounts for 45% of wine-growing areas, 65% of production, 57% of global consumption and 70% of exports in global terms, according to the European Commision.

Many are still not aware that China has taken the wine industry by storm and is giving France a run for its money. China saw a 136% overall increase in red wine sales last year alone. The country reportedly sold 1.86 billion bottles of red wine in 2013 alone, making them the worldwide leader for red wine sales and fifth for overall wine sales. The country has been producing grape wine for more than 4,000 years, and it doesn’t come as a surprise for many locals that their efforts have been finally recognized by the world.

China may be new to the worldwide wine industry, but Chinese vineyard owners are taking their newest recognition very seriously, in hopes of becoming the world’s biggest wine producer. China’s Shanxi and Ningxia regions are where the most high quality wines are produced.

Grace Winery contracted vineyard overlooking the Yellow Valley in the Shanxi province, China.

“It’s really difficult to promote our wines. But I never doubt this market will get bigger and better for us,” 56-year old Chinese entrepreneur, Wu, shares in an interview with South China Morning Post.

Many vineyard owners are looking to produce and export other varieties of wine as well. It won’t be long before consumers in Europe and the United States would see a cabinet of sparkling wines imported from China at local liquor shops. Even Japan has taken inspiration from China’s success and has recently introduced Koshu wine in the UK market. It looks like UK’s Marks & Spencer has already foreseen this as it already has branches in Shanghai selling reds, whites, and sparkling wines. “I think our wine is the best quality (in Shanghai), we can literally control the entire supply chain, so we can trace the wine right back to the vineyards,” shares M&S Shanghai Buying Manager Nicola Slater.

2014 looks like a promising year for Asian wine producing countries, and as early as now, many can tell that China is not taking the backseat in winning this tight competition against its neighboring countries as well as European wine producing countries that have been holding the title for too long.

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