Food & Beverage

World's biggest red wine consumer is now...

China beats France as top red wine consumer
China beats France as top red wine consumer

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.

Mirko Iannace | age fotostock| Getty Images

China consumed 155 million nine-liter cases of red wine in 2013. France consumed 150 million cases and Italy consumed 141 million cases.

(Read more: Sotheby's crowns its king of fine wines for 2013)

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