World's biggest red wine consumer is now...
China has topped France and Italy to become the world's biggest consumer of red wine, according to a study by International Wine & Spirit Research commissioned by Vinexpo.
Chinese consumers downed 1.865 billion bottles of red wine last year, contributing to a 136 percent rise in consumption over the past five years, the survey released on Tuesday showed.
(Read more: Is China causing a global wine shortage?)
The U.S. remained the world's biggest consumer of all types of wines.
The latest data on red wine consumption shows that China has pushed traditional wine-drinking countries France and Italy into second and third place respectively.
China consumed 155 million nine-liter cases of red wine in 2013. France consumed 150 million cases and Italy consumed 141 million cases.
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Consumption of wine and spirits in China, the world's second biggest economy, has risen sharply in recent years alongside an increasingly affluent consumer society.
And analysts say red, viewed as a lucky color in China, helps explain a preference for red over white wine.
In fact, China's growing thirst is contributing to the risk of a global wine shortage, Morgan Stanley said late last year.
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The data from VINEXPO was released ahead of an Asia-Pacific exhibition that will be held in May in Hong Kong.
— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe;Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC