The global wine market grew almost 11 percent last year as China not only drank more wine but also produced more, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) said this week.
In a market worth €28.3 billion ($32 billion) in 2015, France remains by far the largest exporter in terms of market share value, with 29 percent, equivalent to €8.2 billion.
But France only ranks third in volume of exports, at 14 million hectolitres, reflecting the high quality of its wines which fetch higher prices than its competitors.
Spain is the world's biggest exporter by volume with 24 million hectolitres but has slipped to third place in terms of market share value because of the relatively low price per unit.
Italy is now the world's second-largest exporter at 20 million hectolitres, with a market share value of €5.3 billion, the OIV said.
China is playing an increasing role in fuelling global growth both in consumption and production.
The world's biggest tipplers are Americans, drinking 31 million hectolitres last year, ahead of France 27.2 million hectolitres, slightly down from the previous year. Chinese drinkers consumed 16 million hectolitres, up from 15.5 million in 2014.
In terms of consumption, five countries guzzle half of the world's wine: The US (31 percent), France (11 percent) Germany (9 percent) Italy (9 percent) and China (7 percent).
Furthermore, while other countries slightly reduced production, China increased the amount of land given over to vineyards by 34,000 hectares in the space of a year.
“China remains the main driver of growth in the global wine industry,” OIV director-general Jean-Marie Aurand told a press conference in Paris.