NEWS
04/28/2015 05:45 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 01:12 EDT

China now has more vineyard land than France, wine body says; France is No. 1 producer

PARIS - China now boasts more land dedicated to wine-making vineyards than France, but France has beaten out Italy to regain the title of world's No. 1 wine producer.This is according to figures released Monday by the Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Wine.China's vineyards grew to 800,000 hectares (1.9 million acres) last year, putting it behind No. 1 grower Spain and ahead of France. EU countries have intentionally reduced vineyards in recent years to make them more efficient and improve quality.France's wine production rose in 2014 to 46.7 million hectolitres, or 6.2 billion bottles. The United States remained the world's biggest wine consumer, at 30.7 million hectolitres (4.1 billion bottles).Wine sales worldwide grew 2.6 per cent last year in volume, for an overall value of 26 billion euros.