It comes as a bit of a shock when you actually see the figures: the Chinese wine industry has nearly three times more area under vines than Australia. And here are we thinking that this market to the north might prove to be some kind of salvation when the truth is that we should start worrying about China pinching market share from us elsewhere in the world.

The most reliable looking figures on grape production that I have come across are those from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, which recently released its annual Note on the Economic Situation of the industry worldwide. Here are the figures on areas under vine:


Only Spain, France Italy and Turkey now have a greater area under wine grape cultivation than China. The China total of 495,000 hectares compares with the estimated 174,00 hectares for Australia in 2011.

It’s just as well that Chinese wine consumption has increased along with the hectares. The OIV calculates that Chinese consumption has continued to increase, especially considering the rapid growth of imports without evidence of significant exports from the country. Apparent consumption in China approached 17.0 Mhl in 2011 (+1.15 Mhl compared with 2010).

According to the OIV, in 2011, world wine consumption stood at a mid-range estimate of 241.9 Mhl, which is an increase of 1.7 Mhl compared with 2010 (+0.7%). This means that in 2011, world consumption stopped falling and an albeit very moderate return to growth is promised.

Nevertheless and due particularly to the general economic situation, the largest consumer continent, namely Europe, is a long way from recovering its pre-crisis growth. The report continued:

“So, among the traditional European wine producing and/or consumption countries, Italian consumption showed a significant fall of around 1.6 Mhl (-6.3%, which follows a growth of 0.5 Mhl between 2009 and 2010), despite an increase in French consumption (+1.0 Mhl, after an marked drop of 1.3 between 2009 and 2010), the stability of German consumption, and the modest falls in Spanish (-0.2 Mhl), British (-0.4 Mhl) and Portuguese (-0.15 Mhl) consumption in 2011.

“The United States, the world’s second largest market in terms of volume, experienced a growth evaluated at +0.9 Mhl to reach 28.5 Mhl, according to an initial analysis (evaluation excluding special wines and vermouth), while between 2009 and 2010 growth was only 0.35 Mhln 2011, world wine consumption stood at a mid-range estimate of 241.9 Mhl, which is an increase of 1.7 Mhl compared with 2010 (+0.7%). This means that in 2011, world consumption stopped falling and an albeit very moderate return to growth is promised.

“Nevertheless and due particularly to the general economic situation, the largest consumer continent, namely Europe, is a long way from recovering its pre-crisis growth.”

The OIV said that In 2011, world wine production (excluding juice and musts) was estimated at a mid-range estimate of 265.7 Mhl, which is an increase of 0.6 Mhl on 2010. This global wine production can therefore be described as low, even very modest, particularly in the European Union.

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Peter Fray
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