It’s official: jiu (Chinese for alcohol, or, commonly, wine) beats out vin (French for wine). The International Organization of Vine and Wine has announced that last year, China’s wine production by area under cultivation edged out France to become the world’s second largest wine-growing area in the world after Spain. China now has 1.97 million acres of wine, accounting for 10.6 percent of the world’s wine-growing land, as compared with France’s 10.5 percent, according to Reuters. But don’t worry: France still edges out China in production, with 46.7 million hectoliters of wine produced every year, the most in the world.
“China wants to be self-sufficient in all sectors, this one included," the organization’s director general Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters.
According to Aurand, vines are imported from all over the world, although the Chinese prefer red wine over white wine. With the wide variety of climates and soils available throughout the large region, China is capable of producing many different grape varietals, including cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot and chardonnay, which are mainly grown in the Ningxia, Sichuan and Hebei provinces.
Overall, wine production fell 4 percent worldwide, due to poor growing conditions in Spain and Italy last year.